Alleged neglect of people living with leprosy by the Delta State government, yesterday sparked off a protest by no fewer than 2,000 persons believed to be living with leprosy in Osiomor Leprosarium around Agbor community in the state.
The protesters, using walking sticks, lamented that they presently live from hand to mouth considering their ailment and the phobia people have for them.
Armed with placards with the inscriptions, ‘We need your attention, Gov. Okowa’; ‘We need food items, care’, they were addressed at the State Government House gate by the state commissioner for agriculture, Rev (Mrs.) Omatsola Williams.
It was reliably gathered that Osimor Leprosarium had over the years been abandoned while its patients are being taken care of by public spirited bodies and individuals.
Two of the patients, investigation revealed, allegedly died of neglect a few months ago.
But the commissioner urged the protesters to be patient with the administration of Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, saying the government was aware of their plight as efforts were being made to ameliorate their present hardship.
While highlighting current challenges in the state and the nation, the commissioner assured that the Okowa administration will take necessary measures to reduce their suffering despite the huge debt burden it inherited.
She explained that the present government has been able to offset two months out of the six months stipends owed them by the previous administration, with a promise to offset the outstanding allowances in no distant time.
She advised them to endeavour to be well and accurately informed on issues and dialogue rather than hastily embarking on protests which may not be in the interest of the state.
Isichie Oketa, the leader of the group, said the protest was to press home their demands and appealed to the state government to come to their aid.
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