A family of five thought to be
According to reports Mr. Bernard Ogar, his wife Blessing and three children lived like a nomadic group before a corps members brought attention to them on social media.
The effort has afforded the family a chance to get healthcare at the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital in Calabar, Cross River State.
Dr. Essien Ekpe, the head of Clinical Services at the facility describes to Punch News the improvement observed in the family since visiting the hospital.
“We got to know about this when we saw a post on social media that a family of five (vagrants) were just perambulating the area. After that, we got a call from the minister of health mandating us to do something about it.
“Immediately, the Medical Director in charge of the hospital directed me to arrange a team to bring them to Calabar.
"So, a crack team, led by Dr. Ndubuisi Ikedife, went to Ukpa and the whole family of five were brought here. The only altercation we had was the man, who though resisted, but was not violent. It was as if he had taken the vagrancy as a way of life.
“Reports reaching us indicate that he was a comfortable person in one small tent in a bare land. He had an attitude of not receiving anything from anybody, not even from those who wanted to help.
"He does not accept money but could direct one to where to buy food for him and he will accept the food.
“On getting to the hospital, we got more information regarding his history. We were told that he is a graduate of the University of Calabar; he read Mathematics.
"He was somewhere in Enugu State doing business and was doing well with all the indices of a progressing man.
“The family was intact. Somewhere along the line, it was learnt that the brother died and he lost his job – that was where his deterioration began. He was said to have relocated back to the village and he started living like a lunatic.
"The family found out and collected the first two children from him, but he still went on to procreate and that was how he gave birth to three. They have been living happily as vagrants.
“They are not all mentally ill, it is only the father that is mentally sick, but because of his influence, he wielded some power on them and they had to follow him all over the place the way he wanted.
"Otherwise, the children are like every other children jumping about with curiosity. The wife has been very quiet.
“At first, we thought she was very secretive, but further interview with her showed nothing. In just one week, the family has done very well.
"The man has become less delusional, but we are still keeping him because we noticed a form of over-valid idea."
How family was rescued
Dr. Ndubuisi Ikedife who led a team to capture the family noticed their kitchen was organized during a visit to an open field where they lived.
Ogah's children were observed to be attentive while their parents protested mildly when health personnel tried to take them into custody.
“On getting to Bekwarra, we first contacted the corps member who posted their pictures on social media. We also met with the village head who helped mobilised the youth to assist us in rescuing the family.
"They had a land where they lived. It is a well maintained land, which according to the village head was his father’s land.
“We learnt that the first two children were taken away by the sisters and that when he came to the village he destroyed the father’s house with the claims that a grown-up child is not supposed to stay in his father’s house.
"We noticed that they had well packaged and clean kitchen utensils such as plates. We told him why we came but he turned down our gesture. We had to sedate him and the wife became agitated, we had to do same to her but the children were just quiet and obeyed what we told them.
“The traditional ruler told us that government or philanthropic individuals could build a house for him at the spot he was ‘arrested’ because it is his land."
In a chat with a Punch News reporter, Mr. Bernard Ogar puts his age between 70 and 80 but his partner cuts in to interrupt.
“Darling you are not up to that.”
The family is described as close-knitted with a root of simplicity and love. Ogar the head who is reportedly middle-aged thinks the world should be about love. It is all that matters to him.
“They should love me, and I believe the world should be all about love.”