From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Life seems to have played a fast game on 17-year-old Regina Clement-Oche, a Senior Secondary 2 (SS2) student of Government Model College, Makurdi, Benue State.
This is because two different domestic accidents, which she had at different times while growing up, have almost left her crippled in her left limbs.
Narrating to our correspondent how it all happened, Regina said her travails started when, at age four, she had a domestic accident at home and broke her leg in the process.
“That was in 2008 and I had a fracture somewhere around my waist. I can’t recall whether it was treated that time or not. But after my father died in 2009, my mum took me to a traditional bone-setter somewhere in Apir. We took an x-ray there but the man broke my knee while trying to repair the fractured waist,” she said.
After so many efforts, Regina said she started recovering and even returned to school to continue her primary education but, again, the unthinkable happened.
“I was in Primary 3 when, again, I stepped on an empty water bottle in class and broke my thigh in the same limb. This time, I was taken to my uncle’s place, where a young man treated the bone injury traditionally. The young man couldn’t complete the treatment before travelling out of town, probably to seek greener pastures, leaving the leg to heal improperly on its own,” she said.
She missed school for some years as a result of this and couldn’t seek medical help because there was no money: “My mother, a petty trader, could not afford the treatment and there was nobody to help. She’s a mother of four. I’m the lastborn of the family.
“That’s why I’m calling on well-meaning Nigerians to support me so that I can go for treatment. People have been telling me that my fractured leg can be treated but we don’t have the financial muscle to seek medical help.”
Corroborating her daughter’s narration, Mama Paulina Oche, said when she was young, she was playing with her mates and, suddenly, a block fell on her leg and caused a fracture around her waist.
“I took her to a local bone-setter who tried, but the leg wasn’t normal. I initially took her to one in Wadata area of Makurdi but when there was no significant improvement, I was advised to take her to another bone-setter at Akpehe area of Makurdi and the man tried his best.
“Again, she fell in school when she slipped on a water bottle. I tried my best but the leg isn’t straight anymore. Some people advised I should just leave her.
“I wanted to take her to the hospital but I don’t have the financial muscle to do that. I even went to Othopedic Hospital in Mkar, Gboko, about three years ago and I was told to bring N300,000 as an initial deposited for her treatment. I have no one to support me because her father is late and the uncle’s couldn’t support.
“That’s why I left her like that. She’s the last of my four children. My husband died in 2009. He was a mechanic.
“I am calling on well-meaning Nigerians to come to the aid of my daughter so that she can walk well again,” Regina’s mother appealed.
Mrs. Susan Ekoja, her Commerce teacher, who had been teaching her since the begining of the session, described her as an easygoing girl, always ready to learn.
She said she got closer to Regina when she found out about her disfigured leg and asked her what attention had been given to the leg, and she narrated all that had transpired.
“After hearing from her, I felt that medical attention could correct it. That is why I am trying to draw the attention of well-meaning individuals to her plight. When she is moving, you will feel pity for her because that mobility can really affect the things that she can do,” she said.