From Bode Durojaiye, Oyo.
Freedom Online brings you the story of a middle-aged university graduate who is mentally challenged in the ancient town of Oyo, Oyo State, Nigeria.
She is said to have been in that state of mental disorder for the past nine years, unattended to.
Popularly referred to as Mary, her real name is Bose Oyeleru. She hails from Fiditi, Afijio Local Government Area of Oyo State.
Slim and dark complexioned Bose was said to have attended Fiditi Grammar School, after which she proceeded to the university, graduated and enlisted in the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
She was said to have joined the Oyo State Police Command after her service year. She was transferred to Atiba Divisional Command, Akesan, and later to Akunlemu, all within the ancient town.
Bose, according to a reliable source, was redeployed to the Signal Section near the divisional command, before she contacted the mental disorder.
She was said to be happily married with children.
Freedom Online learnt that the lunatic graduate was sleeping within the vicinity of the Signal Office before she was chased away.
She later shifted base to the Government Reservation Area (GRA), Apitipiti.
A mechanic at Boode-Ogbomoso, Mr. Michael Agboola, confirmed that there is no day Bose would not reach the vicinity of the Signal Section, after which she would come to the workshop.
“Before coming to our workshop, she would first get to the Signal Section and later come to meet us here. She is not violent but used to play and stay with us. Sometimes, when she is okay, she opens up when we asked questions, and that was how we know that she is a university graduate”.
What is, however, amazing about Bose is that besides the fact that she speaks good English and responds intelligently to questions put before her, she also appears neat all the time, as she goes to beauty saloon
Investigation further revealed that the lunatic graduate would leave her “GRA residence” everyday around 5pm for a stream where she would have her bath.
After the bath, Bose would put on new clothes, often times jeans trousers with T-shirt and some make–up to match, before leaving for Owode, the Central Business District of the ancient town.
She returns to her abode late in the night.
Bose was cornered by our correspondent near the Tennis Club, along the GRA , where she washes her dirty clothes.
Below is the interview with the lunatic graduate:
QUESTION: Good day, Madam. How are you?
Bose: Good day gentleman, what can I do for you because I am on duty here. Please talk.
QUESTION: What are you doing here? And where are you from?
Bose: I told you I am a guard here and a native of this area. I mean Oyo metropolis. It’s a long story my brother, don’t disturb me, I am very much on duty.
QUESTION: How do you mean?
Bose: I am well-read, but don’t know how I find myself in this circumstance. But thank God, I am working here.
QUESTION: You mean ……….. (Cuts in)
Bose: Sorry, do I not smell because I have not taken my
bath? Do you love my environment? I know it is dirty and bushy, but am I at work, you may not like it, leave me with my plight. I don’t want to be disturbed here.
QUESTION-Are you married?
Bose: Of course, but cannot locate either the children or their father now. I am fine, any problem and why are you bothered? After all, they are my children. What again?
QUESTION- Where do you stay?
Bose: I am sleeping at a building (GRA) over there. But wait and listen, these people do not allow me to sleep. They come late at night to trouble me and force me into doing it. They come with cars.
QUESTION- Force you to do what?
Bose: Don’t you know what a man and a woman do together when they meet? It is not their fault. They treat me like that because of my condition. Hmmmmn. Me. A whole university graduate.
QUESTION- Which university did you attend?
Bose:Wetin again? Please go and leave me alone. You are disturbing me on duty here.
Several efforts by our correspondent to locate her family at Fiditi, a distance of about 40 minutes from Oyo town were to no avail.
However, residents have expressed concern over increasing number of young people with mental disorders in the ancient town.
Over 300 lunatics are said to be residing in the ancient town alone.
Investigation showed that most of these mentally challenged people, who are non-indigenes, were brought and dumped from outside the ancient
town, by some well–meaning individuals after using them for money rituals.
Some residents were said to have explored the situation by having sexual intercourse at night with female ones among the lunatics.
Consequently, these female lunatics were abandoned without any care whatsoever after being impregnated. Few good–spirited individuals usually come to the assistance of the pregnant lunatics, by taking
them to the health centres, in some cases, as well as provide for their needs to ensure safe delivery.
Statistics reveal that in Nigeria, 28.5 per cent of those attending primary health care setting in an urban area were found to have psychiatric morbidity.
Concerns for job security and the economic survival of the household were said to put enormous pressure on individuals that may in turn affect their mental health.
Study also reveals that the adolescent age group was found to have higher psychiatric morbidity when compared to the adults in Oyo State.
It underlines the effect of family structure on the mental health of the population, and marriage was found to be associated with mental stability in the state.
Those separated from their spouses, divorcees and widows, the study indicated, have a higher mental morbidity.
“Sticking to acceptable family structures may create mental tension in communities. Aspiration to meet up to the community standards is usually a common source of mental illness. Large family size and unemployment was also found to be associated with increase in psychiatric morbidity,” statistics indicated.
The adolescent period is a turbulent period in life when there is a transition into adulthood and self-autonomy.
While stating that the prevalence of psychiatric morbidity is high in the state, the study stressed the need for mental health promotional services for the rural population.
It further added: “Basic essential needs to be provided by the government in both rural and urban areas, especially made available to the younger generation and promotion of family planning to reduce family size, would help to reduce psychiatric morbidity, and improve quality of life in Africa’’.