The story of this helpless young man who was seen by Ummul Khayr while traveling within Sokoto on 25th of October, 2020 made me question the existence of humanity in this part of this world. Why can’t we help the mentally deranged?
“So it happens that the car I was in was driving somewhere within sokoto when we happened to come across a guy around 19-21 years totally naked on the street in broad daylight. We were coming up behind him so I could not immediately discern that he was a mad person until we came close and I saw him trying to pick up his tattered garment on the ground to tie around his waist.
As he tied it on his front his backside will show and he will remove it in order to retie it and when he ties it around his back his private parts will be on display so he would remove the shirt once again and try to cover up his body properly.
I was looking around to see if anyone noticed him when my gaze fell upon some men, 7 in numbers, between the age range of 20-27 years old sitting on benches and laughing their heads off while pointing at him. It was glaringly obvious to see that they were enjoying his humiliation and helplessness as if it was some sort of entertainment. None of them showed the lest of an inclination to come to his aid and cover him up.
While at the other side a group of young ladies between the age range of 14-16 were smilling coyly and pointing at his private parts. So I told our driver to please stop the car and help cover up the mad man, he looked at me strangely and said …
Him : Don’t you know that you don’t help a madman?
Me: what do you mean by that? It is obvious to see that he is not totally “mad” since he knows to stop and try and cover up his nudity. Please stop the car, you can even ask those gentlemen over there to assist you to help him.
Him: but hajiya it’s like you don’t go out much at your house ba because it looks like you were not bought up around here.
Me: I was bought up here now, can’t you see the way those ladies are pointing at him and laughing?
To cut a long story short the car driver did not stop to help him and the other women in the car kept giving me strange looks as if I was an alien.
It makes me beg to ask the questions?
- Is a mad person not a human?
- Why aren’t there laws protecting mad people on the streets?
- Does common decency not exist anymore?
- Where is our common courtesy as individuals living in one nation?
- Ladies, where is your sense of modesty, the shyness, the lowering of gazes? Since when did a mad mans’ private parts become cinema/town entertainment?”
It is not uncommon to see mentally deranged persons on our streets/roads. It becomes so disheartening that little attention is given to these persons. According to the WHO Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020, “the number of specialized and general health workers dealing with mental health in low-income and middle-income countries is grossly insufficient. Almost half the world’s population lives in countries where, on average, there is one psychiatrist to serve 200 000 or more people; other mental health care providers who are trained in the use of psychosocial interventions are even scarcer.”
In a bid to resolve this issue, the 2013-2020 WHO action plan was structured on 4 broad objectives which include:
- to strengthen effective leadership and governance for mental health;
- to provide comprehensive, integrated and responsive mental health and social care services in community-based settings;
- to implement strategies for promotion and prevention in mental health;
- to strengthen information systems, evidence and research for mental health.
While the year 2020 is fast coming to an end, Nigerians still have quite a number of roaming mentally deranged persons on her road. Suffering not only of mental ailment including, but not restricted to, dejection, discrimination and exposure to all sorts of crimes.
They too have right!