I am Madam Chinyere Obasi. I am a native of Onuebonyi village in Eguhuo-Ezzagu Community in Inyaba Development Centre, Ishielu L.G.A. of Ebonyi State, Nigeria.
Rev. Fr. Patrick Kettrick wedded us. I was the first Twin Mother to be admitted into the Mission House at St. Joseph’s Catholic Parish, Ezzagu. About six months later, a mother of triplets, Mrs. Alegu joined me and subsequently others followed. Our case was different because we were among the early converts to Catholicism.
It was the ugly and bad practice of our people to kill twins in the past before the coming of Rev. Fr. Raymond Ezeonu. It happened that I attended antenatal check-up at the Mile Four Hospital Mobile Clinic at the Parish Headquarters; I was diagnosed of twins on palpation. When I got home, I broke the news to my husband, Mr. Paul Obasi (R.I.P.), who was saddened because of ill-fate that awaits the unborn babies.
When I was approaching delivery time, he suggested that we inform our parish priest of our predicament.
On getting to the Father’s House, we were obstructed from seeing Fr. Ezeonu by overzealous aides who were not comfortable with our appearances. However, Fr. Ezeonu sighted us and immediately approached us to inquire what the problem was.
After patiently listening to our story, he now discovered why he has not been seeing twins in the area and from that day, he began Twin Apostolate. He started attacking the evil custom and campaigning against killing of new born babies under any guise. It happened that few days to my delivery, I was infected by guinea worm disease. It was a very horrible experience. I crawled to the Father’s House to seek his assistance as no one was willing to help me out. He asked me to go and get ready with my personal effects as he would take me to Mile Four Hospital Abakaliki the following morning.By then, there were no motorable roads in Ezzagu and its environs. Fr. Ezeonu used to travel only on motorcycle. He was used to carrying sick people and pregnant women to hospitals in Abakaliki. Most at times, his soutane and clothing were stained by blood of women in labour while taking them to hospitals. Because of this, his Bishop banned him from carrying women on his motorcycle. He told me, “You know my bishop warned me to stop carrying pregnant women in my bike but for the sake of those twins in your womb, I will go against the standing order. Go and prepare. First thing tomorrow morning we’ll be going to Mile Four Hospital Abakaliki.”
Very early in the following morning I prepared and waited for him beside the road and in a twinkle of an eye, I saw him flying in his machine. He halted and I climbed and off we went. When we reached Umuezoka, he asked me to climb down to avoid Fr. Cullen from seeing him carrying a woman and consequently reporting him to Bishop McGettrick.I managed to walk till I reached Amuda. As I was walking, I was always looking back with the hope of his coming. When it was nearing dusk, I saw a hand inside a car waving me to stop and it happened to be him. He said, “I thought you are lost or that something bad had happened to you. I sent people to look for you to no avail. Fr. Cullen couldn’t let me go and I didn’t know how to tell him I’m with a sick pregnant woman. Please bear with me.”I boarded the car and was taken to Mile Four Hospital Abakaliki.
Four days later, I was delivered of my two baby boys, Peter and Anthony. When Fr. visited us, he brought assorted beverages and food items. He insisted we spend two weeks in the hospital before going home. It was Bishop McGettrick who picked us up in his car from the hospital till we reached Edda Stream. He was going to Ezzagu for a pastoral visit.When we got home, the villagers treated us with disdain. We faced all sorts of threats, scorns, and intimidations,. I was called all sorts of demeaning names.
To ensure the safety of the twins, Fr. Ezeonu moved us into the mission house. He started hunting for mothers and children of multiple births from one station to another. That was how mothers and their twins came to live in the parish house. Even while in the mission house, some church members kicked against his quartering twins and their mothers in the mission. (Names withheld).
To cater, care, feed, clothe and take proper care of the twins, Fr. Ezeonu solicited the help of government and good spirited individuals of the society. He occasionally took us to Enugu for Radio/TV programs to showcase how the twins are being killed in Ezzagu. In the course, he attracted many enemies and persecutors. Among the Archenemies of Fr. Ezeonu were Rev. Nwafor of Agba Community, Hon. Jacob Ugota of Eguhuo and Umoke Igwe of Eguoguji. They together with their disciples accused Fr. Ezeonu of enthroning evil in Ezzagu Land. They fought him tooth and nail with all sorts of allegations and calumnies. They lied that he was fraudulently getting financial assistance from government and people for his personal whims and caprices and not for the sake of twins.
They were severally proven wrong by Fr. Raymond Ezeonu. Newspapers, Radio and Television Stations carried the media war against the dastard act.The members of Twins’ Mothers Association are very grateful to Fr. Raymond Ezeonu for all he did for us. He was able to build zinc-houses for our families and improved our social status from negative to positive. Every woman now wishes and prays to be a mother of twins, thanks to the role played by Fr. Ezeonu. The twins kept coming while he was at Ezzagu as if they knew their savior and protector had come. Since he left Ezzagu, they are rarely born.