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Ampuversary: Florence Marcus marks her 33years of amputation with book launch “Anguish Of Amputation” her father’s Perspective

TQM report,

On Saturday 4th December, 2021, Barrister Florence Marcus celebrated 33 years of her amputation with a book presentation titled: “Anguish Of Amputation” A father’s Perspective on Florence Akubelu’s Ordeal.

Barr. Florence Marcus in her speech titled Experience Anguish, Harvesting Hope And Investing in Hope, a collection of words that carefully forms the background and foundation of her story, said that growing up as a little child was such a delight for her while growing up in the midst of a lovely parents (father and mother) and family members was such a beautiful experience.

“Travelling with my family was always anticipated, hence for me every day was filled with hope, peace and joy with prospect for a better future”.

“Fortunately and unexpectedly there came this day 28th November, 1988, a day that commenced with a beautiful journey involving my sister, her 3 months old son, myself and other passengers in a commercial vehicle, all travelling from Zaria to Kaduna”.

She said that she never foresees an accident and an amputation that happened on December 5th 1988.

“In as much as I didn’t foresee the accident of November 28th, I also didn’t imagine another day, December 5th, 1988. A day that put the first question mark on my little and rising destiny. A day I didn’t see ahead of time, a day that was not in the family health budget, a day that hope became a question. I am talking of one of the faithful days God created”.

In an emotional speech, she said that after spending 7 days on the hospital bed, it was obvious that her leg would be amputated in order for her to stay alive.

“To cut the long story short because of the exigency of time on this anniversary day. That day (December 5th, 1988) turned out to be the day I had to part with one of my beautiful leg after spending 7 days on hospital bed. It became obvious that my leg was amputated and my identity changed”.

Speaking further, she said after the amputation, as the days goes by, her hope came alive when she encounters Christ.

“I have seen the days of going to school, the days of graduation, the day of my call to bar and many other beautiful days. I have come to realize that with Christ crisis will always give way for crowning”.

“Today we are all gathered because there is hope for us all. We are further gathered here to thank God and also be able to help others to harvest hope even in the midst of the crisis of life”.

She stated that Amputation has been the signature atrocity of reckless driving, bad roads, careless and non-prompt attention during hospital emergencies for accident victims, conflict and disasters, gender based violence and several other preventable situations. The most credible estimates of the number of amputees range from two thousand to four thousand in certain communities and states, with perhaps twice that many dead from their wounds.

She called on the media to put the number of amputees at several thousand.

“Whatever the number, reports and photographs of victims and survivors—they all have dignity and should be respected despite their conditions—with a demanding moral commitment from all stakeholders to reduce or bring to an end the preventable circumstances that do lead to amputation”.

She said that launching a book on “Anguish about amputation” and marking a 33rd ampuversary is not because of the fun of it but for the fact that stories of hope, commitment and support can be well documented and shared to encourage many others still locked up in the cells of anguish.

“We live in a world where hope is in high demand because every other arrangement seems to be failing, but I have a good news for us all in this auspicious gathering that HOPE IS A UNIQUE COMMODITY THAT NEVER GOES INTO RECESSION. Let’s keep hope alive”

“I can choose to worry and live in the pain of an amputated leg but rather I have chosen to be a voice of hope and story of inspiration for many other individuals, families/parents and the society at large. And that has given birth to a platform that will continue to provide legal framework and support system to those who have and may be going through what I passed through in 33 years”.

She wished to use this opportunity to advocate for increased support system towards promoting better society for those who are experiencing this dimension of anguish. Some are experiencing deafness and dumbness, some are on wheelchair, some are blind, and some are on other technological support facility.

She said that her eagerness to provide support system gave birth to an organization called the Amputee Coalition of Nigeria (ACON). A platform that brings together survivors to keep hope alive, amplify their voices through advocacy and provision of support system to different categories of people in communities, families and the society at large.

“Amputee coalition of Nigeria (ACON) which became a baby of this my amputation ordeal seeks assist amputees with many of their support needs and providing information that will be relevant to starting a new life as an amputee which will include benefits information, legal information, prosthetic centre advice and information, education and retraining and much more. ACON will continue to support these people with their needs moving forward through rehabilitation and on to retraining for future employment and even sports and hobbies which may require adaptations or specialist inclusive activities”.

She urged the dignitaries to be kind and donated generously through the purchase of the book being launched because it will go a long way to help restore dignity and keep hope alive for several others experiencing this level of anguish and at the end, it will be on record that you added so much value to many lives and promoted the shared dignity that binds humanity together.

Florence Marcus’s father Elder Markus Agan, the author of the book in his remark said that the amputation of her daughter was the most trying experience that he tried to deal with the anguish by writing book.

“It was my own way of trying to deal with the anguish of a parent whose beloved daughter, Barr. Florence ‘Akubelu’, found herself with a single leg very early in life due to a motor accident.  To put it mildly, my late wife and I as her parents, were traumatised beyond description when it happened”.

He said that no parent wants any misfortune – physical, emotional or psychological – for his or her child. All parents want only the best for our children mainly for their sakes, not necessarily ours. It is therefore very painful and devastating to parents when they discover that, because of some misfortune, their child cannot enjoy the exciting life of childhood like playing those games and pranks which delight parents (in spite of pretended disapproval meant to curtail excesses).

“However, as most parents would agree, no parent holds the destiny of their children in their hands. We can only guide the child. We cannot stand between him and his destiny. Thus, despite close watch over our children, tender care and warnings, sometimes things simply go the way we never envisaged. And when the downward side of life’s drama hits us, fear sets in; and then discouragement; and then loss of hope. The agony that accompanies such tragedy for many is unspeakable. Here we come to the bridge – the valley of decision. Do we give up and allow misfortune to win? Or do we fight against this evil tide?”

He narrated that “when her daughter, Akubelu’s leg was amputated, her late mother and I and many others who stood by us took this advice to heart during those trying times. We called on God, prayed, and did all that was humanly possible to ensure not only her survival, but that she went to school and lacked nothing that we could afford to make her life worth living. (As you will read in the book, our pet name for her Akubelu came from hearts full of love for her)”.

“Today, with the help of God and people of God, she has become what she is. She is not only a barrister of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, she is also a helper of the helpless.  In thus persevering she has handsomely repaid our labour of love beyond expectation”.

He appreciated her daughter for making him and the family proud and he later publicly pronounce a fatherly blessing on her daughter.

The Special guest of Honour of the event was HE Dame Pauline Tallen, Honorable Minister, Federal Ministry of women affairs, under the the Chairmanship of the Occasion-General Martin Luther Agwai (Rtd) and Book Reviewer was Elder Musa Aduwak.

The event was graced by the Executive Secretary of National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD), Mr. James David Lalu and many other dignitaries from lawyers to Lawyers with disabilities, family members, friends, amputees and other persons with disabilities.

Elder Markus Agan, the author of the book

 

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