By Nedum Noble
As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark this year’s International Women’s Day celebration, the the wife of the State Governor, Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano, on Thursday, reunited 72-year old woman back to her family.
The widow, Mrs Rose Anene, a native of Ilorin, but married to late Anene from Umudioka community, Awka in Awka South local government area of Anambra state was said to have left her home 38 years ago, abandoning her five children to unknown destination, owing to mental ailment.
247ureport learnt that Mrs Anene, who was unsuccessful searched for by the family for those years, was brought from Lagos to the Mentally Challenged Home at Nteje, Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State, in 2004.
Speaking with newsmen at the Nteje home, the commissioner for Women’s Affairs and Social Welfare, Dr Victoria Chikwelu, said Mrs Obiano, took special interest in the widow immediately the husband took over.
She said the governor’s wife, through her Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ), in collaboration with the Anambra State Ministry of Social Welfare, Children & Women Affairs, ensured that proper treatment was administered on her, which led to her full recovery.
According to the commissioner, as soon as she was certified fit to go back home, she, in company with her team, had to traverse the length and breadth of Awka before she could be linked with her children at Umudioka, Awka.
“It was two days ago that Mrs. Obiano ordered that Anene be reunited with her family in Awka, the Anambra State capital.
Speaking before the discharge of the widow and other former Mentally Challenged Persons, which coincided with the 2018 International Women’s Day, Mrs Obiano expressed joy that the widow, who was once lost, has finally been found.
The governor’s wife, who presented a sewing machine and undisclosed cash sum to the window, enjoined her family to ensure her continued medication until she was fully recovered.
“I am delighted that we are gathered here to celebrate the 2018 International Women’s Day, and recovery of some of our brothers and sisters who were once thought incapable of meeting their obligations due to various degrees of mental challenges, not forgetting the special case of our sister (Anene)who was once assumed lost but now found and fully recovered ready to join her kit and kin,” she said.
She said over 62 inmates drawn from different states in Nigeria including Abia, Ebonyi, Edo, Oyo Anambra, had been treated and rehabilitated since inception since her husband became governor in 2014.
“We give God Almighty all the glory for the recovery of the eleven inmates we are discharging today especially the remarkable case of our sister Rose.
“It may interest you to know that late last year; one of the recovering inmates was sponsored to a corrective surgery to remove a growth in his two hands as a result of injury sustained at the peak of his ill-ness.
“The surgery was successfully carried out at Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu Teaching Hospital Amaku, Awka and today he has fully recovered.
“We have touched many lives positively across our communities through the 11 houses we built for indigent widows, 12 toilets to promote hygiene in rural markets, training and empowerment of over 3020 women, free cleft lip surgeries for 45 children and care for the mentally challenged etc.
“As it is our tradition, we ensure proper post recovery rehabilitation for the inmates by making sure they are meaningfully engaged when they leave here,” she said.
Expressing appreciation to her husband, Willie Obiano who she said had been of immense support and encouragement, including his his monthly salary contribution for the upkeep of the inmates since he was sworn in 2014, Mrs. Obiano called for more support from other spirited Nigerians.
“We need all the support both financial, food items and equipment to sustain the extra-mile we travel to ensure the welfare of these inmates.
“Anambra State is at the fore-front of advancing women rights and privileges hence landmark legal advancements like the enforcement of female rights to inheritance especially in Igboland, and the leadership role of our Governor in the appointment of many women to positions of authority in government,” she said.
Mrs. Obiano also called for the acceleration of the drive for gender parity as means of harnessing the strengths of women who are actively involved in ventures for societal progress.
Responding, the emotionally laden but visibly excited children of Mrs Anene, said their joy knew no bounds, seeing their mother who they had already concluded was late, came back to them alive.
The only daughter, Ifenyinwa Uzozie, who said she was only eight years when their parents left them, described her mother’s return as a dream, saying the period of her absence as a trying moment.
“We have already concluded that our mother is dead. We cannot thank the governor’s wife enough for this rare gesture. It is only God that that can reward her,” she said.
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