Unending woes of Ekeukwu Owerri market demolish

Precisely in August 2017, bulldozers from the Imo state Government demolished the ancestral market of Owerre Nchi-Ise, popularly called Ekeukwu and as the market crumbled, so did the life of a young man; Ifeanyi Osuji.

The 23-year old indigene of Umudike village in Dikenafai community of Ideato South Local Government Area of the state had his bladder shattered by three bullets fired by a soldier during the demolition exercise.

Since then, life has not been the same again for the only child of a widow as he now carries about urine bag with a tiny pipe permanently inserted into his genital from which urine drips because he could no longer control it.

To worsen the case, after his anus was stitched up following the impact of the bullets which had pierced through the hips and exited from his lower abdomen, doctors at the Federal Medical Centre Owerri had to perform a colostomy surgery to enable him pass stool into a bag attached to the abdomen.

Recounting the incident that led to his ordeal, Osuji recalled that fateful morning that he had closed from his security duty post at Njemanze Street and went to Ama JK to repair his mobile phone. He said that he was not aware that the demolition of the market had commenced and that it was on his way back to Njemanze Street that he noticed the commotion as people were running helter-skelter.

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According to him, “It was around 7:00 am, when I closed from night duty at Njemanze Street and I decided to go and fix my phone at Ama JK and after fixing it, as I was going back, I noticed that people were running in all directions and there were sounds of gunshots and as I was running, I saw a military armoured tank and before I knew it, the soldier who was inside released a volley of bullets. Some bullets entered from my buttocks and came out through my lower abdomen. It was one Ugochukwu Njemanze who took me first to Chinyere Hospital where the doctor said that they cannot treat me without police report. In fact, it was the doctor who called the police that now took me to the Federal Medical Centre Owerri.

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“I spent seven months at the intensive care unit of the FMC where the bullets were extracted; the second surgery was to drain the accumulated blood from stomach and the third surgery I underwent was where the urologist had to insert a pipe into my genital and connect it to a bag where my urine drips in because my bladder was shattered by the bullets. My anus was also closed and the doctors performed a colostomy on me so that I can excrete through it from my lower abdomen”.

The distraught victim disclosed that he was to undergo a corrective surgery to repair his damaged bladder before he was forcefully discharged by the management of the FMC for lack of money.

But, his mother, Mrs. Appolonia Osuji who is a petty trader has blamed Governor Rochas Okorocha for the current condition of her only child, lamenting that the governor never cared to inquire about those who were killed or that sustained injuries during the demolition of Ekeukwu Owerri.

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The widow said that it was Senator Ifeanyi Araraume who deposited some money at the FMC for the treatment of those of them at the intensive care unit of the hospital at the time.

“The FMC management dis- charged him in February claiming that the money Chief Araraume deposited had exhausted but they did not disclose how much he actually deposited and that he should come and settle the bills

before they could restart treatment. Even his medical case file was seized by the Medical Director and as a result, the nurses refused to attend to him whenever we go for check-up because of the unsettled hospital bill,” she lamented.

Regardless, Mrs. Osuji disclosed that she succeeded in meeting with Araraume last September and after telling him their ordeal at the hospital, he promised to see her later but that she had not been able to see him again probably because of his governorship campaign.

However, she appealed to the governorship hopeful not to abandon them at this hour of need while praying that God will continue to reward him including actualizing his political aspiration.

By George Onyejiuwa, Owerri