This is the 20th anniversary of my limb loss.
On the 19th of January 1999, while visiting Freetown on a business trip, the RUF rebels of Sierra Leone captured and amputated my two hands and set me on fire. Their reason is because I am a Nigerian, and the Nigeria government was supporting ECOMOG Peace Keeping Force in that country. I was not the only Nigerian that was captured, many couldn’t make it. Thank God that I survived
This is how I became a person with disability.
The torturous journey to secure rehabilitation and reintegration was something else. The situation was made worse due to absence of someone with my kind of disability to learn from. The process of conquering disability was another struggle. To overcome disability is one thing, but to overcome discrimination, stigma, and isolation is another challenge in a country without law that protects persons with disabilities and lacks rehabilitation and reintegration programme for citizens with disabilities. My condition was so bad that many wrote me off.
The situation is made worst by the fact that my state government Abia State refused all appeal for my rehabilitation. The Federal Government of Nigeria whose activities in Sierra Leone led to the killing of Nigerians in that country denied me rehabilitation. My representatives at the State and National Assemblies couldn’t speak for me, of course, I reached out to them for support without success.
Imagine, while I was crying to the governments for support without success, our government brought the man that masterminded the killing of Nigerians in that country for asylum in Nigeria. Guess what? The Federal Government of Nigeria spent Hundreds of Millions of Naira for Mr. Charles Taylor and his families in Calabar, Cross River State. This is injustice to the highest order.
Thank God I overcame discrimination, disability and its consequences.
I thank all those who made sacrifices to ensure that shame was removed from me through different forms of contribution to ensure my rehabilitation. I thank you so much.
Before my father died, he said my son go and do likewise. That’s why I have dedicated my life to fight against all forms of injustice against persons with disabilities in Nigeria. As for the Nigeria Disability Rights Bill, I am very optimistic that President Mohammadu Buhari will assent to the bill.
I invite you to join me today on Arise Television from 9am as we discuss the Nigeria Disability Rights Bill.
Surviving disability for 20 years is not a joke. Please thank God for me, for His mercies endureth forever. He is worthy to be praise.
This is my testimony.