By Dennis Agbo
Elder Jossy Okenwa, a 62- year-old automobile electrician, with a wife and six children is now paralysed on his two legs, confined to a wheelchair and thrown out of hospital because of his inability to continue with medical bills.
His ordeal started on June 11, 2018, when he, among over 500 members of his Ogbozinne-Akpugo community in Nkanu West Local Government Area of Enugu State, were travelling to Enugu Government House to answer the Governor’s call to resolve a protracted problem the community had with their traditional ruler, now deceased, the late Igwe Stephen Nwatu.
The late monarch was accused of highhandedness and obnoxious dictatorship against his subjects which resulted to intractable crises in the community. The matter failed all resolution attempts until it was taken to Enugu Government House.
“On our way from the village to see the Governor, just before Amodu Health Centre, traffic built up on the long convoy, I was among the people at the back and we alighted from our vehicles to know what the problem was. As we came up, we saw our traditional ruler in the centre of the road with two hefty men by his sides. The Igwe was fuming. As a relation, (he is younger than me), I approached him and asked him what the problem was, why he was blocking the road.. I asked him to enter his vehicle and let us all go to the Government House where we were asked to come.
“You needed to see the way he looked at me and the slap he gave me and said ‘crush him!’ and his jeep that was parked, zoomed off, if not for the God I worship, I would have died instantly because the driver aimed at my chest but because of a little step that I took backwards, the jeep smashed my two legs.”
He said that from then on, he lost consciousness and did not know what happened again as he only regained consciousness at the hospital.
He said that he learnt that the infuriated members of the community later took a mob action on the traditional ruler who later died in the hospital.
“I started receiving treatment at the National Orthopaedic Hospital Enugu but after treatment, the bill was excess to the extent that they discharged me from the trauma section after seven days and I was taken to the ward. They said I will pay N56,000 before I enter the ward but I did not have the money so they discharged me.
“As I came back home, three days later, my condition got worse and I was dying and I went back to the hospital but the problem was that those who would have helped me in paying the medical bills were scattered by the police and they are all on the run and those caught were thrown into prison. I have many hands to feed, I had jobs I was doing in my workshop but here I am, on my bed. That is my tragedy.”
Elder Okenwa is worried that the police which is busy chasing members of the community has not even asked after him to get his own side of the story in the investigation. He is also worried that the traditional ruler’s driver that crushed him is still not under arrest whereas members of the community that reside in Lagos and who were not at home when the incident took place are being arrested without trace of where they are being held.
He said it was regretful that the traditional ruler died out of the mob action that arose because the community thought he (Okenwa) was dead, but wants government to come to his aid and also to resolve the matter as most people have fled both their village and their business premises outside Enugu State, precisely Lagos.
“I am begging in the name of God; let everybody come to peaceful settlement, let us unite once more,” he pleaded.