Amaechi & defenseless people
By Odimegwu Onwumere
Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State has conquered in a lot of battles as they relate to politics and has been fighting nonstop to conquer in governance. Mind you that politics and governance are two different things, even though that they walk on, together. And we all must join hand at this critical time of a second term and help Amaechi for our state not to fail.
While observers and stakeholders have extolled Amaechi for certain accomplishments in governance, the social growth and demand of our people intensify every day. This shows that there are still people who have not conquered their basic need of food, clothing and house etc residing in Rivers State. These people were however cannot be said were distorted by the government, but perhaps, by their fates. And they are today looking up to the government for re-habilitation.
These people are not too far from us. They are one, two, three of the neighbours living on our streets. They have throat, but their voices cannot be heard, because they are not the fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, uncles and aunts of the next neighbour to us living in that expensive and expansive house and using that state-of-the-art cars and travels to abroad at will, with the children attending school at any choice school around the world?
This is not an assumption. It is real. Some of them feed on the mound of that garbage. They are scorched by the sun and rained by the rain and fell sick and are resuscitated by only their God and fate. Most of them have died and we made mockery of their corpses on our streets for weeks. And the environmental agents did eyes-right to empty the decomposing corpse, because there were no rich persons who stood for them to claim their corpses, and perchance, cough out money to the agency.
While we are defeating and have defeated in other basic needs, we have not defeated how not to neglect and debase these inopportune people we live with, without much care to their wellbeing. You may see them as impaired people or adjectively quantify them with any English words at our disposal or at our disapproval, they still remain vulnerable to the harsh environment they didn’t create, neither did we create.
The Rivers State Government-led by Amaechi on its inception of office on October 25, 2007, was seen arresting these people on our roads and streets with their begging bags and demolishing their make-shift huts and sending them to a rehabilitation camp somewhere in Rivers State for rehab. But it is either, like some government projects that have failed in the past like a pack of cards, the state’s Ministry of Health didn’t take the project seriously hence these people have re-flooded our streets and roads with an embarrassing mettle to get money from the masses when one passes across their different dens. Sometimes, the person you hugged on the crowding street is a mentally deranged fellow.
In March this year, the media reported that a disabled beggar allegedly caused the disappearance of the reproductive organs of four men at Rumuola, Port Harcourt. This is one out of the cases of social menace in the streets. We are not talking about the high rate of kid beggars; some of them wear white skin. We must express concern over the increasing number of beggars in Port Harcourt. Parents alone cannot check the trend, because it could be deduced that some of these people do not know who their parents are. There is an allegation that people pregnant women to beg for alms on the streets.
Some of the people who pose as agents to these people embarrass the masses with pictures of some eyesore people who needed help from the members of the public, because they could not afford the finance to augment their frail health and their entire wellbeing. They walk into eatery centres, buses, in short everywhere, begging for assistance. Imagine you are eating and an irritating picture a protruding tumour-patient is posed before you? It is indeed, irritating, also.
Some of these impaired people who were fortunate (not enough) and their parents were able to take care of them still need our care and support. Have you not been hearing there voices on the radio and TV beggarly telling the government the reason it should see to their plight? But the state government, without reservation, has been building schools and hospitals around the 23 LGAs of the state, but little are we sure it has really built the same to the vulnerable people around us or refurbish their existing ones.
Just recently, the media reported that a new School of Nursing Complex was to be built in the Greater Port Harcourt City before the end of the tenure of the administration of Governor Amaechi. The State Commissioner for Health gave this disclosure during an Interactive Forum with the Management, Staff and the Students of Rivers State School of Nursing/Public Health Nursing, in Port Harcourt.
While the Commissioner was reportedly waiting for the inauguration of work at the new Nursing School site, Amaechi should re-direct the Ministry to revisit the project of evacuating the beggars and the mentally sub-mental people trotting everywhere and anyhow around us for rehab. Those among them we hear their voices on the radios and TVs now and then should be attended to. The world and Rivers State should not only be meant for the healthy people, an epitome that life should not be defined from the rose and cozy aspect.
Among the physically impaired brothers and sisters of ours, the project team of the state’s Health Ministry should also realize that among the impaired there must be the ones who would want to train as nurses and doctors and also become commissioners by tomorrow; and we cannot afford always seeing them dilapidating without a recourse to their plight. In earnest, Amaechi must set a team directed to evaluate the level of the menace these people are facing in the state. Structures should be erected for them and if there are already existing ones, they also need renovation. With this, the world would attest by tomorrow that the state branding and re-branding image had direct comportment on its masses without substantial possessions by only those perceived were fit. Moreover, countries in Europe and America we always draw equivalence from don’t ‘abandon’ their impaired ones to their fates. They treat them as beloved ones.
A stitch in time, they say, saves nine. We wish Amaechi the best.