Anthony Uwaoma, a Nigerian man has instructed of how he grew to become blind after he was bathed by acid a few years in the past.
Forty-two-year-old Anthony Uwaoma tells SUNDAY NWAKANMA how an acid assault by his ex-lover’s buddy 24 years in the past left him blind however has not deterred him from working in the direction of his dream of changing into a profitable industrialist
How did you turn into blind?
I am from Ariam Usaka, Ikwuano, Abia State, and a multi-talented motorbike mechanic who had the complete complement of my sight earlier than tragedy struck on August 22, 2004. Destiny performed a merciless trick on me. A satan’s messenger bathed me with acid and immediately, I went blind. Until date, I’ve remained fully blind, however I’m undeterred from my dream of being productive, as a substitute of being a legal responsibility to society. I accomplished my main training in 1996 however couldn’t go additional as a result of lack of sponsorship. Moderately than rust away, I took to expertise acquisition by present process coaching in motorbike repairs at Palmgrove, reverse Michael Okpara College of Agriculture, Umudike, the place my apprenticeship lasted for 3 years and I graduated to turn into a certified motorbike mechanic. With a burning need and dream to turn into a well known professional in my commerce, I opened my very own store in Aba in 2002 and as enterprise was booming, I assumed it match for me to have a helpmate who will likely be my higher half.
You stated you had been bathed with acid. How did that occur?
A stunning damsel got here my manner and courtship started. Since I’m the one male youngster in my household and having no person to assist me, I made a decision to get married. I noticed a woman I liked. I approached her and made my intentions recognized to her. I instructed her that I wish to marry her and that she could be the mom of my youngsters. She agreed. I instructed her the whole lot about myself and made her perceive that I’m the one male youngster in my household and I had no different serving to hand. She instructed me that my poor background wouldn’t deter her from getting hooked to me. I later went to tell her mother and father and my mom of my need and so they gave their consent. As of the time we met, the woman was an apprentice hairdresser. I promised to open a salon for her instantly when she was by means of with her coaching. This, I fulfilled in February 2004, when she accomplished her apprenticeship. At this stage, with the burning anxiousness and bliss in me, I used to be set to begin the wedding rites, however unknown to me, my heartthrob was double-dealing as she had one other boyfriend who, truly, was her choose.
Whereas the courtship lasted, I attempted exhausting to seek out out from the woman if she was encumbered in order that I’d go my manner as I’d not wish to get into any brawl with any man over a girl and the woman swore that I used to be her solely lover on this planet and I believed her. As our plan to get married was in prime gear, one night after work, I went on a industrial drive with my bike as I did on some days to enhance my earnings for the day. I picked up a boy who requested me to take him to the Bakassi space in Aba. I agreed however I didn’t reckon that he was a satan. Once we obtained near Bakassi, he requested me to oblige him to ease himself. I ended. When he was delaying, I urged him to rush up, that it was getting darkish and that I didn’t like working late into the night time. Unknown to me, my passenger had hatched an ideal plot to maim me. And as he turned up, he bathed me with the acid he had hidden in that location and sped away. The place was lonely and darkish. I raised the alarm, shouting for assist and God rescued me with the assistance of people that got here to my help and rushed me to the Common Hospital, Aba. The acid assault affected my two eyes and I misplaced my sight. That was how I discovered myself in my current situation.
How do you know the particular person behind the acid assault?
I came upon later, whereas on my sick mattress, that my assailant was a buddy to the woman I used to be planning to marry. The incident happened shortly after I had opened the salon for her. Instantly the incident occurred, the woman disappeared into skinny air, with no hint. The woman ran away and I’m alone now. I’ve no lover, no person beside me, even the place I’m dwelling now in Aba. I’m alone there. The assault happened on Sunday, August 22, 2004, at about 8pm. From that day, I’ve been dwelling in agony and penury. I used to be a person that was incomes a dwelling and fending for others, however by the merciless accident, I’ve been became a beggar and need to rely upon the goodwill of individuals to outlive, the very last thing I ever wished for in my life.
How have you ever been coping since then?
Life has been very tough for me. No person got here to my help. I simply survive by the mercy of God. Moderately than rue endlessly over my plight, I resolved to amass one other talent if solely that might elevate me out of relying on individuals or resorting to begging. The truth is, I can not beg. I determined that it doesn’t matter what my situation is, I can’t resort to the market, roadside or avenue begging. Even when I resolve to try this, I’ve no information, anyway.
Have there been efforts to deal with the situation?
Between 2004 and 2009, I used to be out and in of hospitals. From Common Hospital, Aba, I used to be referred to Calabar Common Hospital, Abak Hospital in Akwa Ibom, Kaduna Nationwide Eye Centre and Evangelical Church Profitable All Hospital, Kano. It was on the Kaduna Nationwide Eye Centre that the docs opened my eyelids which had been sealed. One Dr Charles from Tiv, who opened my eyelids, instructed me that my white eye (sclera) was okay however the cornea was the issue. He stated the cornea should be modified earlier than I might regain my sight. Efforts to revive my sight in native hospitals proved abortive, however docs really useful that I ought to be flown overseas for correct therapy. However elevating the fund for the journey has been a problem for me.
Any individual had really useful that I ought to search therapy in India, however the medical therapy alone would price me so much, excluding the price of flight and different logistics as of 2004. The particular person assured me that if I obtained to India, I’d regain my sight as far as the reason for the issue is acid. At the same time as I’m right here speaking, I can see mild very effectively however I can not see any object. This gave me the willpower to go for a brand new talent appropriate to my new situation.
What talent did you be taught?
When I learnt that Abia State Authorities was sponsoring disabled individuals to go to Lagos for a expertise acquisition programme, I went to the Ministry of Ladies Affairs, picked and stuffed the shape in 2010. I used to be among the many 5 disabled individuals chosen to journey to Lagos to be taught one type of talent or the opposite. The length of the programme was from January to December. On the Nigerian Farm Craft, Ikeja, venue of the one-year coaching, I used to be skilled within the manufacturing of assorted detergents, together with cleaning soap, air freshener, bleach, insecticide, liquid cleaning soap and plenty of different issues. Along with these, I also can weave baggage with nylon rope or use nylon rope to design sandal tops or telephone jackets. Nevertheless, I have been enormously handicapped in organising by myself enterprise due to lack of funds, because the seed cash which the federal government promised to give us after the coaching by no means got here. I do not need the fund. I spent all my life financial savings on treating myself in hospital. As I converse with you, I don’t even have the sources to feed myself. I estimate that with a capital of N100, 000, I might float a cleaning soap manufacturing manufacturing facility.
Would you be able to arrange the enterprise if the fund is supplied for you?
I am greater than ready! Sure, I’m very a lot prepared! I’ll welcome any type of help; N2m would allow me to arrange my very own manufacturing concern. If I get about N2m, I can begin off. I’m saying this as a result of as of now, I do not need authentic mould which could be very expensive. Those that construct the mould have instructed me that the aspect of the mould alone is about N250, 000. A person who stated he would construct a customized mould for me stated it could price N900, 000 to construct the grasp mould earlier than I might take it to the plastic business to provide manufacturing moulds for me. I may also require chemical compounds, plastic bowls, plastic drums and plenty of others. I may also want a sealing machine for the packaging of the soaps. I launched into a low-scale manufacturing, and solely wanted to persuade those who I used to be able to enterprise into manufacturing if I obtained the monetary help.
I christened my firm, A-Finest, and at current, we produce well-packaged high quality liquid wash, disinfectant, hair cream and perfumed physique jelly and spray, amongst different vary of merchandise, utilizing the cash that folks of goodwill gave me and that I saved up. If I see individuals keen to assist me, I’m going to make historical past as a result of one factor is to go to highschool and one other factor to have the ability to purchase the information for which you went to highschool. I have the information to embark on large-scale manufacturing of the gadgets I have learnt how one can make. I promise to make historical past in a really spectacular manner. I’ve already named my firm A-Finest. My merchandise will bear this identify. If I get sponsors, I promise to make historical past in a manner that in future individuals will see A-Finest firm, even the federal government will ship members of the Nationwide Youth Service Corps to serve in my firm. I’m prepared to try this.
What’s your enchantment to the federal government and well-meaning people?
I am interesting to individuals of goodwill, philanthropists, company our bodies, governments in any respect ranges, whether or not they know me or not, to help me. Even when anybody needs to accomplice with me, I’ll welcome such a gesture as a result of I’m able to do no matter I can do to be sure that my situation doesn’t lead me to go exterior there and begin begging within the markets or streets. I wish to be amongst Nigerians whose names will enter into the guide of information in future. I promise to try this if I can get those that will sponsor me or accomplice with me. I’m effectively learn. Now that there’s a lot emphasis on medium and small-scale industries, the Abia State Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises might do effectively to look in my path as a multi-talented entrepreneur, to see how they will help me, as Abia’s ‘Dangote’ in ready, to arrange my dream cleaning soap manufacturing facility and, thus, make me not solely a helpful citizen however an excellent employer of labour.
Supply: The PUNCH