A stripling of 23-years-old has been spending the last 20 years in isolation in the Nkwanta south of the Oti region, because of a medical condition.
Basty Abass passes urine, defecates, eats and sleeps in a room locked and heavily secured with a padlock so that he would not get the opportunity to walk out.
Food and water are passed through the window to him. His only source of seeing light is through his window.
According to some neighbours, food and water are not consistent so he often cries out for help when he feels hungry and thirsty.
Basty depends on some caring strangers and passersby to get him water. He appears like a 13-year-old boy even though he is 23 years of age.
According to Basty’s father, Mallam Abass Abdulai, the family decided to isolate him because of his condition.
Basty has survived life being naked without clothing, panties, bedding or even a mat and electricity. He sleeps in unhygienic and horrifying conditions in a room that has no cement floor.
When I chanced on Basty, he drew my attention through a sign language indicating that he needed water and food.
So when I eventually got him the water, he pulled out a very dirty old sponge dish which would not even be accepted on a dumping site as his drinking cup.
I understood Basty’s situation better after I entered his room with his father.
Mallam Abdulai told me that his son is epileptic and is unable to independently think for himself, understand what he is told or take care of himself.
According to him, his son defecates anywhere so he thought confining him in a room is the best option to prevent him from being attacked by his epilepsy in the open.
He added that it was to avoid the embarrassment from outsiders coming to tell him to get Basty if he suffers an attack while in public.
When I enquired why he is absolutely naked all day and night without a mat or beddings while his father is gainfully employed as a tailor and the step-mother a cloth dealer, Mallam Abdulai answered that Basty defecates and urinates in his clothes and everything around him.
Basty’s mother abandoned him when he was just 18 months old and has since not returned. He was raised by his grandmother who has passed on.
“Basty spent six years before walking, he was unable to talk or do something for himself and it has not easy for me as a father,” he narrated.
He appears to be a free-hearted fellow and would say ‘nodae’ in Kotokoli language which literally means welcome or “two thousand ‘mahw’,” which he means give me 20 pesewas to buy rice. Those are the only expressions Basty uttered each time I visited him.
Basty’s health keeps deteriorating.
Mallam Abdulai said he had been trying without any success to reach out to the appropriate authorities and philanthropist to come to their aid.
The situation of children with such conditions in the Nkwanta South municipality is a dire one that needs urgent attention.
These children lack access to education; they are not enrolled in formal education or vocational training.
There is a need for a rehabilitation centre, a special need school or a vocational centre to aid such persons in the municipality.