Scores of mentally retarded people have turned the city plaza, pedestrian’s tunnels and part of Adadiaha Street off Umuahia Road in Ikot Ekpene metropolis into their homes. The squatters, men and women, operate illegal car wash spots, undertake all manners of menial jobs and have turned the areas into their business centre.
However, one common feature of those living around Adadiaha Street and other joints is the presence of mad people in various parts of the town, both in the day and at night. Some of this set of people are seen dressed in rags, while others move about stark naked with all the paraphernalia of insanity such as old pots and plates, rusty bins, cans, disused tyres, broken bottles and other items of filth around them. A concerned Ikot Ekpene resident, Mercy Johnson said, “We are not safe with these mad men and women around us. Please, the Local Government authorities should take appropriate measures to evacuate them to ensure the security of the people and the image of the Raffia City.”
At the Local Government Secretariat, it was discovered that the workers were on strike. But one man who preferred anonymity said that there were no psychiatric homes for lunatics in the Local Government headquarters. “Although there is a remand home and temporary centres around where some mentally retarded people are kept and given attention, the people have not been able to rid the city of destitute he said. The man further hinted that the department, which is currently working closely with the special task force on environmental sanitation was on strike, but gave the assurance that they would soon raid these places, this only means that the destitute would merely relocate to some other parts of the town leaving the problem unsolved.