At the Daily Independent Newsroom in Lagos where we were colleagues in the early 2000s, he was easily a recognisable figure with his trademark swagger.
He would waltz into the newsroom with expansive smile of his, he would have hardly stepped into the newsroom when you’d hear colleagues hailing, ‘Sir Walter’, and then he woud weave from side to side, acknowledging the greetings.
Immediately, he’ll move straight to his desk to take care of business, which involved writings the reports of the business stories he had gathered for the day.
On completing the task, he’d then engage his colleagues in a banter through it all, flashing that disarming smile of his.
In that newsroom, Walter Ukaegbu was a jolly good fellow. He remains one till date.
He would leave Daily Independent later for the Sun Newspapers. He ended up in Abuja as one of their business correspondents.
We would reconnect later when I also moved to Abuja and found ourselves living in the same estate.
Our friendship picked up from there and we would meet up from time to time. Owing to the exigencies of work, we couldn’t see as often as we wish. I was shocked later to learn that he was indisposed.
I thought it was one of those minor ailments but was shocked to learn Sir Walter is suffering from a kidney ailment.
The illness has taken a serious toll on his health and finances. I saw him again on Saturday and he had emaciated terribly and could barely stand let alone walk. I could barely recognize him.
He needs help badly. Doctors say he needs N15 million for a kidney transplant. He doesn’t have that amount.
Between him and his wife, and in addition to contributions from friends and family, over N5 million has been spent on the ailment. Since the beginning of this year he has been spending N40,000 a week on dialysis. His finances clearly cannot support this.
So, I am through this message, reaching out to everyone, his friends, colleagues, former colleagues and you wonderful friends of mine to assist him get back on his feet again.
I know times are difficult but the difficult times cannot be stronger than our resolve to save a soul. As you help him, the Lord will meet you also at your point of need, in the mighty name of Jesus.
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