How has the laboratory been before now?
The laboratory was not as big as it is presently. It was being managed by NAUTH Management, later, Institute of Human Virology of Nigeria took over the lab. After Certain number of years, Family Health International (FHI) 360 took over the unit.
But recently, I was in my office one day and Humprey Ngonadi- before he became the president of South East Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (SECCIMA); I never knew him in person when he came to my office and politely told me he needed to check the extent of dilapidation of my office. I obliged.
After observing the state of the building, Mr Ngonadi told me that he wanted to give me a gift for allowing him into my office. He gave me a gift that really surprised me. That was when I realised that he was the Ngoo Bros I used to hear people talk about. Within a short time, the renovation of the building started and the laboratory was brought to the standard that was commissioned recently.
Has the renovation of the unit attracted anything from the federal government to the unit?
Yes, there was an accreditation of HIV Care Laboratory in the country. Before the renovation of NAUTH, Nnewi was on zero star, but after the renovation, the hospital rose from zero star to three stars; one of the best in the whole country. That is why we are happy and grateful to the donor, Ngonadi. And our patients, after the renovation are happy while coming to us and going back home without pains.
You were so much excited with the gift SECCIMA president gave to you for allowing him into your office. Why is the gift so special to you?
I am so excited because a few years back, I offered help to the nation. People thought I was going to be rewarded for risking my life for others, but nobody appreciated my effort even when I was promised I was going to be rewarded.
How did you risk your life for others?
A few years ago, 2016 precisely, I travelled to Abuja on a training organised by Aids Preventive Initiative of Nigeria (APIN) as a Medical Laboratory Scientist. After the training, on my way back to Nnewi, I boarded a bus belonging to Peace Mass Transit Limited to return to Nnewi and we were 17 passengers in the bus. On the Abuja-Okene high way, gunmen on Army uniform attacked us, abducted the driver of Peace Mass Transit and two passengers on front seat. The rest of the passengers were afraid as the gunmen were wielding Ak47 rifles. They took two loaves of bread, dragged the driver and the two passengers into the forest.
Shortly, the gunmen returned to the remaining passengers and picked the passengers’ phones and laptops but mine was not collected because I dropped them on the floor of the bus. As they moved the second time into the bush, we heard the siren of a police patrol vehicle coming towards us and we managed to beckon on the vehicle for help through the windscreen, but they did not stop but shot in the air and zoomed off.
After a while, I raised my head from where I was and looked at the driver’s seat, I discovered that the key was in the ignition hole. I crawled to the seat and some passengers were shouting at me in low tone telling me not to drive, saying the gun men may return back and kill everyone. After praying, I started the vehicle though it was a manual one which I drove 15 years ago. We made entries at a Police Station in Edo State and continued our journey until I drove to Anambra State between 9 and 10pm. I was not rewarded by the company. Out of the 17 passengers, only two people called me on phone to say thank you”.