8th May, 2012
Residents of Calabar, the Cross River State capital, are rattled by the alarming increase in the number of lunatics currently roaming the city.
The lunatics, some of them stark naked, are seen everywhere in the city, mostly around refuse bins and food vendors (mamaput) joints.
A resident who gave his name as Okon Antigha said he was alarmed seeing these “lunatics with strange faces daily troop into the city. They are an eyesore and constitute nuisance everywhere”.
He called on the authorities to address the situation before “mad men take over the tourism city” .
However, the Executive Secretary of the Calabar Urban Development Authority (CUDA), Gabriel Egari, told P.M.NEWS that the influx of the lunatics is attributable to people from neighbouting states who bring them and dump them at the entrance to the city after which they wander into the city centre and constitute a nuisance.
He said the presence of the lunatics is worrisome and that “they not only constitute environmental hazard but have compounded the sanitation situation in the city.”
.Egari whose responsibility it is to keep the city of Calabar clean, explained that as a way of ridding the city of the lunatics so that it could be kept clean, the state government had earlier collected all the lunatics in Calabar and kept them in a welfare home where the state feeds and checks their medical conditions regularly.
Egari lamented that in recent times more lunatics have invaded the city, scavenging the waste bins and littering the major streets with dirt.
He emphasized that the lunatics are not from the state since the government has ensured that indigenes of the state suffering from mental problem were evacuated from the streets into remand homes.
“Because we have welfare policy for these people and run our remand homes very well, people from neighbouring states like Akwa Ibom, Rivers and other states now bring these lunatics into Calabar, so that we can also pick them up into these remands homes and care for them. People bring and leave them in the outskirts of town around 8th Miles sometimes in the dead of night, ” he said.