Wole Balogun, Ado-Ekiti
When Okeniyi Awoyinka Bankole, 39, was heading for work as a carpenter sometimes in June 2010, it never occurred to him that he would encounter a tragic incident that would alter his destiny, thereby rendering him incapacitated for many years now. Unfortunately, that was what happened.
His words: “l had my Spinal Cord broken in June 2010 while l was working at the St. Mary Catholic Church, Odo Ira, Otun-Ekiti in Ekiti North Local Government Area of Ekiti State, as a carpenter. It was one Mr Tokunbo I normally followed to work that took me to work at the Catholic Church. I learnt carpentry work from him. The church building project was financed then by one professor who I can no longer remember his name now. We had almost finished the work when I fell from the rooftop.
“I was taken to Adebayo Hospital in Otun-Ekiti. On the second day, a Reverend Father who came to see me instructed that I should be taken to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Ido-Ekiti in Ido-Osi Local Government. At FMC, they refused to attend to me on time until my father came around and called the attention of his brother who is a staff of the hospital.
“I was again abandoned after spending one month and 10 days at the centre. This was after the leaders of the church came to meet me. They told me that they no longer had money to spend on me. It was brought to my hometown, Otun-Ekiti, where I have been since then. Up till now, I have not been given any treatment and I do not think I have any hope of surviving my current predicament.
“I wrote a letter to the local government secretariat for assistance. The chairman approved N50,000 for me but the money was not released to me till today.
“I got married in August 2007. My wife ran away from me in December 2010 when she realised that my health condition has worsened. I also lost the only male child she had for me the second day she gave birth to him. I am now left at the mercy of complete strangers, neighbours and a few friends who give me money to eat once in a while where I currently live.
“I want to appeal and beg the Catholic Church to help me out so that I will not die prematurely. I have been told that Nigerian hospitals cannot handle my case. I need to be flown abroad for a better and more efficient medical care and attention, even if I will not be able to walk again considering current critical condition. I also want to beg the Governor Kayode Fayemi and his wife, Erelu, to come to my rescue. I still believe I can be useful for the state and Nigeria.”
When Daily Sun contacted some leaders of the church they declined comment. But one of the members who pleaded anonymity confirmed that Okeniyi truly fell from the rooftop of the church building around the time he claimed the incident happened. He added that the church did her best to assist the poor man:
“I can recall that immediately the incident occurred, the church took the poor man to the hospital and even paid severally for his treatment. We had even thought he is now well. But the story you are telling me about him is strange. Well, all I can say is that the church tried her best on his case.”