In October, we brought you a report about a family of 5 – Father, mother and 3 children – battling mental illness in Ogoja area of Cross River State. The story of the family went viral after a female corp member, identified as Progress Oberiko, serving in the area posted it on Facebook.
Progress Oberiko had written on her Facebook page;
This happens to be the weirdest situation I’ve seen in my entire life. I have been trying to get this shot for the past five months and whenever I tried, they either walk past too quickly, change direction, or not just close enough.
At other times I may be on a bike and whenever I ask the cyclist to go slow so I can get a shot of them, he’ll be like “Hmmm, Abeg o, I nor fit stop this bike make u snap o, if the madman catch u, your own Don finish!
And that’s how it went.
The first time I saw them here in Ogoja, my heart melted, I was livid. And my mind wandered, searching for the closest guess as to why a whole family, husband, wife, and three beautiful children would be plagued with INSANITY.
My heart could not contain the curiosity, then i began to ask questions. Anytime I drove past them in a car or on a bike, I engage the driver or someone in a conversation about them.
I have seen them trekking long distances underthe scorching sun☀, I’ve also met them in the market making enquiries about where they could get a particular item to buy.
They’re never separated, always found walking together, complete family. But the intriguing part is their communication. Jeez! This “MAD” family speak CORRECT QUEENS ENGLISH. They flow in CLEAN grammar. Na this one dey burst my head 🙆
I’ve heard the man instructing one of his children who was walking sluggishly behind him as they trekked down the road; “Hey Dorcas, will you hurry up, C’mon girl, meet up with the pace”. And I marvelled.
At the market he asked someone for directions and he went; “Hey ma’am, Pls where can I get this and this… “
As you can see their dreadlocks is twisted, showing that it has lasted for God knows how long 🤷 This means that this madness nor be today. E Don tay!
A conversation ensued between him and his wife one day and it turned into an argument, people were listening; you’ll be so shocked when you hear what the content of their argument was🙆..
Following the viral story, the Cross Rivers state government in partnership with the Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital, Calabar, intervened and begun the rehabilitation of the inseparable mentally deranged family.
A statement from the Ministry of Health said the family of Mr. & Mrs. Ben Ogar popularly known as the Ogoja mentally deranged couple has been rescued following weeks of intense search by a team from the Cross River State Government and Federal Neuro Psychiatric hospital, Calabar, Cross River State.
Mr. Ben and his wife lost their means of livelihood about the same time six years ago while still resident in Abuja with their two kids, and what followed was a mental disorder leading to the Mr. Ben relocating himself and his wife to his country home in Ogoja where he opted to stay in a shanty rather than his father’s house.
His family rescued his first set of kids from him when he started showing signs of this disorder, and six years of roaming the streets of Ogoja produced the three kids he was rescued with.
Doctors confirmed Mr. Ben to be suffering from a mental disorder, while his wife is only having the ‘folie a deux’ syndrome as a result of her husband’s ideation.
The children, two girls and a boy, are in very stable condition and are responding to treatment very well.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Inyang Asibong, said the family are in stable condition and are respondting well to treatment. The family will be rehabilitated and reintegrated into the society with continuous medical care and social welfare, she concluded.
Meanwhile the Honorable Commissioner for Women Affairs in the State, Mrs. Stella Odey, highligted that the family are also being offered some psycho-Social support in addition to the Medical Care already being provided by the State Government.
While her counterpart from the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Social Welfare, Mr. Oliver Orok, noted that the State Government had already provided feeding and accommodation to the couple with adequate medical scare.
The Permanent Secretary of the State Ministry of Health, Dr. Joseph Bassey, asserted that the State Government are partnering with Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital to ensure the family receive all the medical services they require.
However, the family has been making progress at the rehabilitation center as reported by the ex-corp member, Progress Oberiko, who wrote about the family in the first place.
Progress had taken to her Facebook page to give an update on the family while sharing their new photos. She wrote;
#ONE_BIG_FAMILY CALLS FOR HELP
Still under the protective care of the hospital, Mr Ben Ogar and his family #ONE_BIG_FAMILY is recovering in leaps and bounds.
With gratitude to the entire hospital team, social workers, doctors and Nurses.
More grace to the director of “Help Without Boundaries Initiatives” Sir Godfrey Ohuabunwa and his team “Christian Missionary Television” CMTV who have actually been immensely helpful in terms of support to the family, providing medications, food, and other items of comfort for the family. God bless you Sir🙌
Unfortunately, support is yet to come from the government who initiated their rescue hence we have resorted to soliciting and appealing to the benevolence of the general public to support this family in whatever way they can especially in terms of rehabilitation; providing a comfortable home for them, education for the kids, a trade for the woman and a job for the man as this will help foster their re-integration into the society again.
We wouldn’t want a situation where after their recovery, they are sent back to their village in Ukpah, Bekwarra as this would stigmatize them and probably distort the entire process of their wellness.
So please, those of you individuals, NGOs, and organizations who made contacts initially, this is the appropriate time for you to demonstrate your love and concern for this family as you indicated earlier.
We are their family now, yes, you and I.
You can send your support in whatever nature to the hospital; The Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital in Calabar or you could also reach out to me and trust that your kindness will be represented. God bless you. Thanks 🙏🏻