A 23-year-old man has been locked up in a room for over two decades and neglected to die in Nkwanta south of the newly created Oti region of Ghana, simply because he is a person living with various forms of disabilities as described by the father.
His name is Basty Abass and his only source of seeing light is through his window, his door is locked and heavily secured with a padlock so that he would not get the opportunity to walk out.
Basty who appears like a 13-year-old depends on some caring strangers to get him water most times.
Basty has survived life without any clothing, beddings or even a mat and electricity. He sleeps in an un-cemented room under unhygienic and horrifying conditions.
He passes urine, defecates, eats and sleeps in the same room with food and water passed through the window to him.
According to some neighbours, food and water is not consistent so he often cries out for help when he feels hungry and thirsty.
When I chanced on Basty, he drew my attention through a sign language indicating that he needed water and food.
When I eventually got him the water, he pulled out a very dirty old sponge dish which would not even be accepted on a dumping site as his drinking cup. I understood Basty’s situation better after I entered his room with his father.
Mallam Abass Abdulai the father of Basty, tells me that his son is epileptic and unable to think and understand what he is told. He added that he defecates anywhere so he thought confining him to that room is the best option to prevent him from getting epileptic attacks in the open and also stop people from coming to ask them to get him each time he got an attack.
I enquired why he is absolutely naked all day and night without clothing, mat or beddings whiles the father is gainfully employed as a tailor and the stepmother a cloth dealer.
Mallam Abass’ answer was that Basty defecates and urinates in his clothes and everything around him.
He finally said Basty’s mother abandoned him when he was just one-year-old and has since not returned. His mother (Basty’s grandmother) had to step in to raise the boy until her demise.
“He spent six (6) years before walking, he was unable to talk or do anything for himself and in fact, it was not easy for me as a father.”
The young man is unable to communicate his needs due to the rejection he suffered the past 23-years. He appears to be a free hearted man and would say ‘nodae’ in Kokoli language which literally means “welcome” or “two thousand ‘mahw’,” which he means “give me 20peswas to buy rice”. Those are the only expressions Basty uttered each time I visit.
Basty’s health keeps deteriorating: so the father is appealing to the appropriate authorities and philanthropists to come to his aid.
Many children with disability in the Nkwanta South Municipality lack access to either formal education or vocational training.
There is the need for Rehabilitation Centre, a Special need school or a vocational centre to aid Persons with Disabilities in the Municipality.
By Cindy Ohemaa Maade Asamoa