By OGBUAGU ANIKWE
The Enugu State government has so far been restrained in its reaction to the spate of misinformation and outright lies promoted by a friend of the iconic Enugu Rangers player, Mr. Christian Chukwu, who is ill and has been hospitalised. This restraint is out of respect to the wishes of both the Chukwu family and the request of his doctors who wanted a space to quietly deal with the emergency situation that brought Chukwu to hospital on a stretcher.
Today, however, Chairman Chukwu is walking with a stick and has granted interviews to the BBC and a couple of local media. It is on the strength of this that the Enugu State government is now putting out the following information and clarifications to explain what is happening to Christian Chukwu and how it is being taken care of:
1. Christian Chukwu, popularly called “Chairman” in his playing days, is NOT a destitute old man abandoned to his fate in the face of an emergency health situation. He is currently the director of sports in the Rangers Management Corporation, a public service job that enables him to meet his basic health needs.
2. In the circumstance, Christian Chukwu is an employee of the Enugu State government. This was one of the strategies that Rt. Hon. Dr. Ugwuanyi, the governor of Chukwu’s home state of Enugu, designed to take care of sportsmen who had served the state or the nation in their youth.
3. When Chukwu’s health situation was brought to the attention of his employer – Rangers Management Corporation – he was rushed to one of the best medical facilities in Enugu where a team of five specialists have been attending to him.
4. The management of Rangers Management Corporation immediately deposited N200, 000 with this health facility to begin his treatment.
5. On hearing about his health condition, Gov. Ugwuanyi gave an additional N1.5million to the commissioner for youth and sports to give to the family — in order to ensure that the football legend did not lack anything that the team of specialists may require to manage his condition.
6. The governor has also given an additional N1million to the family when the doctors demanded a further deposit, bringing the total amount disbursed by Gov. Ugwuanyi and the Rangers Management to the Chukwu family to N2.7million.
7. The total bill submitted to date by the hospital for Chukwu’s treatment is N2.7million.
8. To date, the doctors taking care of Chukwu have NOT released a medical report of his health condition to anyone, not even to the state government that has been picking up his bills. It is therefore curious how anyone without this information could have determined (a) that Christian Chukwu needs overseas medical care, and (b) the cost of this overseas care.
9. This point needs restating: the medical director of the hospital is also as surprised as we are that someone in the USA who is not privy to a medical report of Chairman Chukwu’s condition can determine that (a) Chukwu needs a treatment abroad (b) the cost of such treatment, and (c) even without Chukwu or any member of his family asking for a second medical opinion or for treatment abroad.
10. Our intervention on this matter has become necessary to clear the air on the spate of misinformation, disinformation and outright mischief that otherwise well-intentioned commentators have continued to dish out, based on the misguided efforts of a friend of the football legend who is giving a false impression that Chukwu is a destitute old man, perhaps in a bid to whip up public sympathy that enables him meet his goal of raising money to help his friend.
11. The Enugu State government notes that the negative stories surrounding Chukwu’s condition originated from the desperation of his friend in the U.S. by falsely claiming in his appeal fund drive message that Chukwu has been “abandoned.”
12. Finally, if at any time the hospital’s doctors or the Chukwu family indicate that overseas treatment is required, the Enugu State government will be notified and will respond appropriately.
Anikwe is the commissioner for information, Enugu State
Photo: Chukwu (centre) with Anikwe (left)