Wole Balogun, Ado Ekiti
Founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola and a psychiatric expert, Dr. Joshua Falade, have appealed to people not to stigmatise patients suffering from mental illness.
Babalola said ABUAD had got approval from Governor Kayode Fayemi to take lunatics off Ekiti Streets for rehabilitation.
This was as Babalola rehabilitated two mentally ill persons from Ondo and Kogi states and reunited them with their families after 15 years of separation.
Speaking at the unification ceremony in ABUAD, yesterday, Babalola said he had to show pity after discovering them in their lunatic states and brought them for intensive medicare at ABUTH.
“This university and hospital were established to fight poverty through philanthropy. I am only happy when people around me are happy.
“What I did was to display passion for humanity and I believe we can all do the same. The lunatics on the streets are humans, don’t stone or discriminate against them . Instead of doing that, bring them to ABUTH for treatment.
“From today, these two ladies have become my daughters and I will establish them with businesses that will make then successful in life,” he said
Giving a tip on how to demystify mental illness, the psychiatric expert, Falade, revealed that the victims were brought to life through Babalola’s instrumentality after sleeping in the forest and roaming the streets for years.
“After recovery, we were able to trace their families where we were told that they had suffered mental illness and got lost where they were receiving treatment.
“Mental illness is still being stigmatised in Nigeria. It is common. It is not true that is not treatable. It is a medical condition.
“It is not easy to manage, it costs money and I want to call on the government, policy makers, non-governmental organisations and corporate bodies to replicate what Chief Afe Babalola is doing in the area of philanthropy to give hope to the hopeless,” he said.