Felix Ikem, Nsukka
For about two years now, life has become hellish for Festus Ozioko, a resident of Ihe autonomous community in Nsukka Local Government area of Enugu State.
The Nsukka-based newspaper distributor has been moving from one hospital to the other in search of a cure to his ailment, but no solution is in sight.
The reporter recently visited the ailing man in Ogbo Ozalla Opi, Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State, where he was receiving treatment at the home of a herbal medicine practitioner.
Ozioko, a former councillor in Nsukka LGA, said he had sold virtually all his property in pursuit of a medical solution to his health challenges.
In his words, his life has become shattered by the ailment.
“It all started about two years ago when I just returned from my village. Shortly after, I fell sick. I thought it was malaria, but antimalarial drugs seemed to have no effect. I then went to Bishop Shanahan Hospital, Nsukka, for a laboratory test, which indicated I had malaria and typhoid. I was then admitted to the hospital, where I stayed for about one month. But the situation only got worse.
“I then went to the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku-Ozalla, but after one month, my situation only got worse. It was at UNTH Ituku-Ozalla that I was advised by one medical doctor that I should try herbal medicine.”
He said he was discharged form the hospital and went to a native doctor somewhere in Igbo-Eze North LGA. After staying there for some months, he was moved to Ogbo Ozalla Opi on December 25, 2018, where he has since been reeiving treatment from the native doctor.
He said the native doctor diagnosed high fever, internal swelling and paralysis. “Recently, she also discovered that the ailment got to my spinal cord. She said I was poisoned by some people in my village.
“I have exhausted all I have to treat myself. I sold my water tanker truck, which I was using to complement my newspaper business. I have sold all my electronics like refrigerator, television, generator and even furniture to raise money for my medical bill when I was in UNTH. Right now, I have no kobo to my name. I have been surviving with the mercy of good friends who once in a while give me some money. Even the food I eat is being provided by the herbalist, Ezenwanyi Egara Ifeyinwa.”
He said his siblings have all tried their best, taking care of him since the illness started. He noted that they too had become overwhelmed, having exhausted all the resources available to them: “My wife left me for over seven years now. Though we didn’t divorce, she left me with my three kids, two boys and a girl. She is not taking my call. Each time I call her number, she will give her phone to any of my children around to answer. I trained her at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, after which I used my contacts to get her a job.”
He appealed to individuals, organisations, the state government and Nsukka Local Government leadership to come to his aid financially.
The herbalist, Ezenwanyi Egara Ifeyinwa, said Ozioko had been under her care for over 13 months now.
“He has improved tremendously compared to the time he was brought here. He is responding to treatment, but he needs money to continue the treatment,” she said.
Ozioko, a councillor under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from 2004 to 2006, was the proprietor of Golden Moon, a firm of newspaper distributors in Nsukka.
Ozioko can be reached on 08067070504. His account number with Access Bank is 0024459867, and the account name is Ozioko Festus.