INTERVIEW: We have rehabilitated 760 mentally challenged persons in Akwa Ibom – Udofa

Rev Godwin Udofa: A Passion for Caring for the Mentally Challenged

Rev Godwin Udofa is the President of Wonder Life Mental Rehabilitation Centre, Ikot Afanga, Oruk Anam Local government of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. He has been passionate about taking care of mentally challenged people in the state for over 28 years.

Udofa’s journey into caring for the mentally challenged began in 1995, when he had a vision from Jesus Christ. In the vision, he was instructed to evacuate mentally challenged people from the streets.

Udofa initially resisted the calling, but he eventually obeyed and founded Wonder Life Mental Rehabilitation Centre in 1996. The center has since rehabilitated and reintegrated over 760 mentally challenged people back into society.

Udofa says that the center is able to achieve such a high success rate through a combination of spiritual and medical care. The center has a team of doctors and nurses who provide medical care to the residents, and Udofa himself provides spiritual counseling.

Udofa also believes that it is important to provide residents with a sense of purpose. He gives them jobs to do on the center’s farm and in the kitchen. This helps them to feel valued and to contribute to society.

Despite the success of Wonder Life Mental Rehabilitation Centre, Udofa says that there is still a lot of work to be done. He is calling on the government to do more to help the mentally challenged, including creating a bureau of mental matters and passing legislation to protect their rights.

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Udofa is also asking for individuals to support his work by donating old clothes and shoes to the center, and by volunteering their time and skills.

Here is an interview with Udofa, in which he discusses his work and his vision for the future:

Interviewer: What prompted you to venture into caring for the mentally challenged?

Udofa: Well, I did not go into that as a result of empathy or sympathy. I had an encounter with Jesus in 1995, that should be about 28 years ago and He instructed me to evacuate the mentally challenged persons. It was a 27 hour vision. When I woke up from the vision, I had to obey the calling and God has being faithful for the past years

Interviewer: What is the mode of admission of these people into your centre?

Udofa: Every quarter, we evacuate them from the three Senatorial districts of the Akwa Ibom State and rehabilitate them. Though in 2020, Akwa Ibom State government saw what we were doing and brought about 73 mentally challenged persons to us, by the time we finished with these people, the then governor was impressed and he built a clinic in our centre, though not equipped.

The truth is that some of these mentally challenged persons may be having little problem, just a little care they will be well. Some people are afraid of me, thinking that I’m using one kind of mystical power or anything, no, this is a commission and that is why I’m occupying that place with my wife and children.

Interviewer: Have you been attacked by these mad people?

Udofa: They are so friendly. Even on Sundays, some of them will be walking down to the church. When I’m walking on the road, some of them will see me and will be waving at me and I always wave back even when I don’t know them.

“When I was coming here, a woman, completely deranged, saw me, she was waving at me, my son saw her, I responded and people were laughing at me, I gave her a token and she was happy. So our target is that by 2035, we are not going to see the mentally challenged roaming about in the street.

So far, 760 persons have been restored to normalcy and reintegrated to the society. We are further putting up an appeal that these people should be trained so as to be more useful to themselves, their families and the society.

Interviewer: How do you treat them, is it spiritually or what?

Udofa: Both! Dr Jumbo is the Head of the Mental Health Department of University of Uyo Teaching Hospital; he is on our board, he comes here on Thursdays on voluntary ground to see them. The Rotary club sends some doctors from time to time. Also, the Insight Bible Church sends some Missionary doctors to us to see them. Of course, if it’s for me to pay them, I can’t even pay their consultation fees but they are doing that free of charge. Apart from that, it is basically spiritual but we are incorporating the medical aspect to complement it.

Interviewer: What are your prayers to the government for these mentally challenged?

Udofa: We want the government to come to the help of mentally challenged in the State.

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