By Chinelo Nwangene
Anambra State Commissioner for Women and Children’s Affairs, Lady Ndidi Mezue, has come under fire from a cross-section of residents of the state for celebrating her birthday with three mentally challenged persons.
Mezue, whose team has been rescuing mentally challenged persons and offering them rehabilitation, decided in her usual compassionate manner, to celebrate her birthday with three mentally challenged persons picked up at Onisi Onira Garden, Onitsha and New Tyre Market, Nkpor during the early hours of December 2, 2020.
“This is what I do every day in my office. So, these ones, two young men and a lady are lucky to be here today and will share in the joy of my birthday cake and food”, she disclosed, stressing that the beneficiaries would be taken to Nteje Home for the mentally challenged for rehabilitation.
“Hopefully, they will regain their sanity and will be reintegrated back to the society,” the commissioner stressed.
The commissioner’s celebration with mentally challenged persons was greeted with mixed reactions on the social media as many commentators viewed the incident as political stunt. Anya Igu Idika criticized the commissioner for making the gesture a public show. “Why use hand glove to give them food? Must we bring everything to the public space? And what is the essence of this? This act can be best described from the perspective of the mad people there. Happy Children’s Day to you!”
Nelson Emeka Etodike also took offence with the manner the commissioner fed the mentally challenged patients with hand gloves, describing it as dehumanizing. “You guys should stop dehumanising humanity! Even dogs are lovely fed with bare hands!”
Chuks Clement Onyilimba also dismissed it as a show: “Must you snap and make videos with them? God does not answer this kind of prayers. Madam do your things on low key. After you go brag say you are a cheerful giver.
Others commentators like Tochukwu Grand Finale, questioned the rationale for commissioner’s decision to celebrate her birthday with mad persons. She considered it inappropriate that she looked for people to celebrate her birthday with, and it was mentally challenged people that she found worthy of sharing her birthday moments.
But Enemchukwu Austin backed the commissioner for her act of charity, stressing that she deserves a national award for her spirited efforts in rescuing and rehabilitating mentally challenged persons in the state. “This woman deserves a national Award of the best commissioner of the year instead of condemnation”, he wrote.
Aduo Tobin Stanley also praised Lady Mezue for her passionate efforts in helping women and children, especially those affected by mental ill-health in Anambra. According to him, not everybody can do what the commissioner did on her birthday by going out to celebrate with mad people.
“Well done for what you have done to show love to one another. If other political leaders and ordinary people are doing like you, I don’t think we’re going to have many mentally challenged persons out on the streets”, he wrote.
Blessing Chinwe dismissed the criticisms over the birthday celebration as ‘taking paracetamol on another person’s headache’. “People should leave the woman alone to show love to those people. If you have better solution, pick one of them and help if what the woman is doing is not good enough”, she wrote.
Igboeli Kosiso simply wrote: “Ma’am thanks for your love. But I believe you can do more by taking them to a psychiatric hospital and pay for their admission. They need rehabilitation.
Hon Ikenna, also urged the commissioner to intensify her efforts as there were many mentally challenged persons in the state that need assistance. “Please go to MCC flyover and evaluate all the people. They are many with different deformity. They need help”, he advised.