For Benjamin Emeh, a blind man and native of Amata-Amoha community in Afikpo North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, life can be both kind and cruel. This is what he has come to realise, following the death of his wife after she gave birth to male twins.
The death of Ngozi Emeh not long ago, struck Emeh like a thunderbolt for many obvious reasons, the first being that he is a blind man unable to take care of his family. Fending for the rest of the family was what the late Ngozi was doing before her untimely death.
Although the Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, upon learning about Emeh’s plight, announced a monthly stipend of N20, 000 for him, the blind widower still needs help to raise his twins.
He recalled that his late wife had successfully given birth to male twins but died shortly after thereby plunging him and the children into crisis.
He lamented that the death of his wife was the biggest blow he ever had in life despite the fact that he was also blind.
“Imagine what it means to be a single parent and a visually-impaired person; it is very challenging. My wife was everything to me; she was a soul mate, sister, friend, mother, helper and provider. She was a hardworking woman. She supported me immensely in taking care of our children; she would always provide whenever I didn’t have and she was a workaholic.
“I still find it difficult to believe she is dead because she was part of me. I was lucky to have had her as a wife but it is unfortunate that death took her away from me. I am now a distraught single parent, bearing many responsibilities. The death that killed her should have not come at this time when we are struggling to raise our God-given children.”
Even when Emeh is blind, life has become harsher for him and his entire household mostly the newly-born babies. Now, it has dawned on him that life could be a lot more challenging and unfriendly. He needs help.
“After her death, I was in critical condition; I needed help to bury her and to carter for the twins and other children, but none came.
“People ran away from me; no one asked me how I was doing. I ran to some top government officials in the state for help but they could not assist me. I then wrote a letter to Governor Dave Umahi and he immediately placed me on N20,000 monthly stipend after seeing my case, which he described as pathetic.
“The governor also directed his Senior Special Adviser on Religion and Welfare, Rev. Fr. Abraham Nwali, to make sure I received the stipend regularly and to ensure that my suffering was ameliorated. The N20, 000 monthly stipends is for the upkeep of the twins. The twins are at Motherless Babies Home, Abakaliki, where they are being taken care of. They are both males. Each time I visit them, I always feel happy and grateful to God for keeping them alive despite the death of their mother. I also feel happy and grateful to the people taking care of them because it is not easy to take care of orphans, especially those at very tender age.”
He thanked Governor Umahi for his timely intervention but maintained that even with the N20,000, he still found it very difficult to survive, as he was unable to pay for his children’s school fees and upkeep.
Rev. Fr. Nwali said the stipend would run until the end of Governor Umahi’s administration, adding that the government was also taking care of triplets whose mothers also died after child delivery.
‘’We also have another person, who had triplets and is physically challenged person. The governor pays the triplets N300,000; he is taking care of them.
“We are also taking care of a family with three cripples. We also take care of another family whose head is blind; the wife is also blind. So, God is watching us and wants us to go and make a change,” he said.