Written By Mark Offor
Thousands of elderly people are currently being abused and neglected by their children in Cross River State. In some cases the treatment is so appalling that frail and vulnerable elderly people have been left ‘wanting to die.
It comes after Sister -in-charge of Pope John Paul II Good Samaritan Home, Calabar, Cross River State, Rev. Sister Yvonne Nwankwo, urged children to stop maltreating their parents especially when they become old and weak.
She spoke against the backdrop of neglected elderly persons, who the home takes care of.
The home currently has 13 elderly persons, some of whom Southern City News learnt were picked from the streets after being thrown out of their homes on flimsy accusations.
Although Nwankwo declined to disclose the identity of the elderly persons whose children had abandoned on the excuse of being witches, she wondered why children would choose to throw away their parents at the time of need.
She said, “Having an elderly person in your home is a blessing. If I go to my home town for instance, I feel happy seeing my parents, even though my dad’s health is failing, he still gives useful advice. When you throw them away simply because they are old, I wonder who you fall back on for elderly advice. We should try to accommodate them.
“What I have seen here is that as soon as someone gets old, the person automatically becomes a witch. Unfortunately, when that same parent was young and still working to cater for you, he/she wasn’t a witch.
“There was this lady who accused her mother of being a witch and for that reason she was abandoned. I accosted her and asked why she thought the mother would not have been able to bewitch her when she was in the womb; even when breastfeeding.
“Unfortunately, now that she is old when you are supposed to take care of her, suddenly, she has become a witch. It is unfair. Old age is a wisdom and blessing to every home.”
One of the elderly persons, who identified himself as Emma Ette, said he had not set his eyes on his wife and three children since 1982.
Ette, who is in his 70s and an indigene of Ikot-Ekpene in Akwa Ibom State, said he was despised by his siblings after the death of his father in 1975.
“I have some half-brothers who did not like to see me. I do not know why they don’t want to see me, but I took care of them when we were growing up. My father was a polygamist. I was the only survivor among my mother’s children. I am the eldest. I never really had problems with my siblings.
“I recall that I started having problems when my father died. They became jealous when he died because I was the eldest. He was wealthy. They did not allow me to stay in the house anymore. They attacked me with ailments. I still have the sickness. I have spent so much in hospitals, gone to so many churches, but to no avail.
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