In the northern part of Cross River State, many less privileged as well as physically challenged persons are dying to meet Mr Eliman Eliman, a 39-year-old who has the passion for mobilising support for those in dire need.
Eliman hails from Boki local government area of the state and tried his hands on politics but realised it was not his calling. He is presently into the hospitality business to keep body and soul together, yet his avocation is really to care for the crippled. As a result of this, he gets calls now and again about the plight of this group of people.
He came into the limelight recently when he singlehandedly mobilised support from kind hearted Nigerians to give succour to four handicapped persons from the state.
The four beneficiaries include Miss Joy Abaji (29) from Ikom but stays in Ogoja; Mr Peter Achara (32) from Bomaji in Boki LGA; ‘Obasanjo’ Effiong of Big Qua town in Calabar and Mr Buebri Atue of Bugo town.
Eliman, who organises what is called Open Kitchen to celebrate his friends, said “all of them needed wheel chairs to enable them access any part of the town and fend for themselves instead of crawling about begging,” but he did not have the money to purchase the wheel chairs for them.
“I went on social media like Facebook and Instagram where I posted pictures about the plight of these Nigerians, and appealed for support. I do not know these persons from anywhere but met them coincidentally.”
“Public spirited individuals have been responding to the appeals. Many would insist their names should not be mentioned, but I still make their supports and donations open anyway without mentioning their names. This attitude has encouraged them to do more whenever I launch similar appeals.
“For instance, one of such persons simply known as Kingsley sent a wheel chair from the USA. Two anonymous persons from Lagos also sent two wheel chairs. One Agnes sent in cash of N5000, yet another sent N10, 000. I had to balance up N25, 000 to purchase the fourth wheel chair.”
Eliman said he made a formal presentation of GSM handsets and the wheel chairs to the beneficiaries, and asked them to pray for the donors.
Peter Achara said he was very happy to receive the wheel chair which will enable him and his friends to move about. He said, “The rich did not remember us in our difficulty yet they would usually approach us during campaigns to vote for them. Here you are, from the little you, touched by our situation. God will reward you and all the kind people who contributed.”
He however added that he would not be taking the new wheel chair home whenever he visits his community because the bad roads there could damage it. The other two beneficiaries were financially assisted to commence shoe mending apprenticeship.
Joy, one of the beneficiaries, said she would start petty trading since with the aid of the wheel chair, she can now move around easily. Eliman said since he is passionate about the plight of the physically challenged, he is thinking of turning it into a profession, and to even formalise it, with the hope that government and members of the public would be sympathetic and show practical love and concern for the less privileged.
He remembers that International Day for Disability (IDD) comes up every 3rd December, he is also thinking of registering a nongovernmental organization to be called ‘Wheelchair Foundation and Care’.