Charles and Hannah Nwankwo have narrated the sad tale of how they lost two of their children in one week,due to poverty.Living in a house submerged by flooded waters, Hannah narrated to The Nation reporters
“When I gave birth to my first child Chukwuebuka Christopher, he had a condition which caused him to convulse regularly. We were managing it traditionally with palm kernel oil and some other things; but one day in March 2017, Chukwuebuka again began to convulse. On this occasion, we had unfortunately run out of the medicines, due to lack of money. To make matters worse, my husband was also not around to do the running around for cash
I was also eight months pregnant and Chukwuebuka was going to be three. I became afraid, panicky and started looking for people to help me. With neighbour’s help, we rushed him to Isolo General Hospital, where he was given injection and he immediately went into coma, which he never came out of.
We really never took him to a hospital anytime he convulsed because the first time it happened and we took him to a hospital, we were told his condition wasn’t medical and that we should lean more towards traditional treatment. Since then, we managed to put it in check until this fateful day.
It was after he went into a coma that we were told we should never have brought him to the hospital, as someone who is convulsing should not be injected.While in coma, they carried out series of tests on him and concluded that his life was in the hands of God and we should just be hopeful. But eventually, we lost him.
In the meantime, my second son also took ill. I still can’t understand what happened to Ebubechukwu; I can’t really explain it. He was one year, going to two and not sick. You know as children, he and his brother were always together; they played together, did everything together and were indeed very close. So, when he saw his brother lying in the hospital bed lifeless, he pulled and called his name in desperation. When he didn’t respond, he started crying and we consoled him. Thereafter he just started behaving funny and strange and eventually died.”
Originally from Abia State, Mrs Nwankwo has been married to her Enugu State husband for three years. She spoke of how she used to manage her husband’s N12,000 salary during the time of the former Lagos State governor, since it was regular, but lamented that since the assumption to power of the new governor, salaries at the Lagos State Waste Management Authority, LAWMA, where her husband works, has not been forthcoming. At the moment, she said they are being owed four months’ salary.
“We have been managing by God’s Grace. My baby is not eating well. We go hungry for days; sometimes because we don’t have money to buy food and the baby doesn’t get enough breast milk. She is five months old and the last time we checked, she weighed just 4kg, which is the usual weight for new born babies.”
Asked how they meet their rent obligation, she said:
“We don’t pay for this place because of the water (flood) and because the building is abandoned. The caretaker just allowed us to move in to manage. The place gets badly flooded when it rains and our things get soaked. The water even gets to our ankle inside the house.”
To cater for their baby, she said they try to use any money they get to buy food for her, aside breast milk.
Somewhat ironically, Mrs. Nwankwo holds a National Certificate in Education, NCE (2010); she also said she had all her education in Lagos and has even taught in two ‘good’ schoolsleaving one to wonder how come she settled for such life of poverty. Couldn’t she look for a teaching job?
Her reply was, “If I get a teaching job, I will jump at it because it is my passion.”
On his part, Charles Nwankwo, who had kept quiet all the while, said he has been unrelenting, in spite of everything and puts in his best towards the welfare of his family.
“I work with Lagos State Waste Management Agency, LAWMA and I am being paid N12, 000, but for four months now, I have not got a kobo as salary. Because of this, life has been hell for me and my family.
It was partly because of this lack of payment that I lost my children to the cold hands of death. .