The founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) and a psychiatric expert, Dr. Joshua Falade, have appealed to people not to stigmatise patients suffering from mental illness.
Babalola said ABUAD had got approval from Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi over the intention of the university to take lunatics off Ekiti Streets for rehabilitation.
This was as Babalola rehabilitated two mentally-ill persons from Ondo and Kogi States and reunited them with the families after 15 years of separation.
Speaking at the unification ceremony held in ABUAD on Thursday , Babalola said he had to show pity after discovering them in their lunatic states and brought them for intensive medicare at Afe Babalola University Teaching Hospital(ABUTH).
“This university and hospital were established to fight poverty through philanthropy. I am only happy when people around me are happy.
“What I did was to display passion for humanity and I believe we can all do same. The lunatics on the streets are humans, don’t stone or discriminate against them . Instead of doing that, bring them to ABUTH for treatment.
“From today, these two ladies have become my daughters and I will establish them with businesses that will make then successful in life”, he said
The Acting Vice Chancellor, Prof Sylvester Ojo, said Babalola has replicated the same gesture through contributions to the society in terms of scholarships, free legal services to the oppressed and giving of funds to farmers across the 16 local governments to advance food production.
Giving a tip on how to demystify mental illness, the psychiatric expert, Dr. Falade, revealed that the victims were brought to life through Babalola’s instrumentality after sleeping in the forest and roaming the streets for years.
“After recovery, we were able to trace their families where we were told that they had suffered mental illness and got lost where they were receiving treatment.
” Mental illness is still being stigmatised in Nigeria. It is common . It is not true that is us not treatable. It is a medical condition.
“It is not easy to manage, it costs money and I want to call on the government , policy makers, non governmental organisations and corporate bodies to replicate what Chief Afe Babalola is doing in the area of philanthopy to give hope to the hopeless”.
Speaking on behalf of the families, Mr.Ojo Bamidele and Nurudeen Subair, said they never knew they could reunite with the victims, having lost contact with them for years.