For many who know her, Mercy (real name withheld) from an Edo State community had long been dead and buried by her kinsmen. Butstrangely and miraculously, she is still very much alive.
The story of Mercy is one wrapped up in mystery…
Before the mid ‘90s, the tall, dark and beautiful lady was living a normal and healthy live in a community in Edo State, where she was said to be involved in a business with which she took care of herself and members of her family.
Mercy, as she is now named, was said to have at times travel to Onitsha, Anambra State to purchase some goods which she sold at home. Loved by all, she was reportedly leading a happy and fulfilled life.
But one day, according to a report by a female relation, who pleaded anonymity and equally refused to give the name of their community for fear of people projecting them in bad light, Mercy got missing from her home.
According to the lady, there was confusion in their community as Mercy who was not used to traveling except on business trips, which she did not embark on at that time, could not been seen for days.
Confusion then made way for apprehension. Having waited for days and yet their daughter could not be found, leaders and youths of the community set out to look for her.
First, the police in the area were alerted on the search for the lady and they swiftly spread their dragnet to see if they could get a clue of Mercy’s whereabouts, but all yielded no fruits.
Having been satisfied that finding Mercy was beyond the police, the community decided to look for her in their own way.
But the result was the same, there was no trace of their daughter anywhere and they left her case to fate, believing that one day she would come home alive on her own. But that was not to be.
In Mercy’s community tradition forbids a missing person to be presumed dead until after a stipulated time if he or she was not found.
Within this window of time allowed by tradition, there was still high hopes that Mercy would come back home alive. But as this period elapsed without Mercy being found, the community went into mourning because their daughter had by the dictates of tradition died.
So, burial rites were reportedly performed. Although her body was not found, but as far as the community was concerned, Mercy was dead and buried and her name on the community’s register marked with red ink.
But years after, in 2014 to be precise, something happened. Mercy who had long been ‘buried’ in her community in Edo State was found roaming the streets of Aba as a mad woman.
How Mercy was found
The lady, who told Mercy’s story, was the one who found her. She said she was in Aba late last year on a business trip and went to see some of her customers within the Ogbor Hill area of the commercial city when she saw somebody who resembled Mercy.
She said two things crossed her mind, either she was seeing a ghost because Mercy who had long been ‘buried’ way back in Edo years ago had not been to Aba before, or she saw someone that resembled their ‘dead’ sister.
But out of fear, the lady could not make further enquiries.
When the lady went back after that business trip and narrated to her people what she saw, opinions were divided.
While some people were of the view that she saw somebody who resembled their sister, others believed she might have seen a ghost, yet another group encouraged her to sermon courage and approach the mad woman when next she visited Aba and sees her.
So, on a recent visit to Aba, the lady again was heading towards the Federal Housing Estate along Opobo Road, Ogbor Hill to see her customers.
As fate may have it, on getting to Emelogu junction, she saw Mercy coming in the opposite direction.
Instead of dodging as she did in the first time, when Mercy approached, she called her by the name for which she was known back home.
The mad woman recognised her and stopped. Both ladies greeted themselves and engaged in a lengthy sisterly discussion to the bewilderment of onlookers.
After the discussion, the lady gave Mercy some items she bought for her and reportedly told people around that she would take her case back to their community so that her people could come and take her home.
But checks by Oriental News showed that since then, nobody as promised has come for Mercy who is now domiciled in front of a disused factory building on Opobo Road, adjacent St. Dominic’s Catholic Church, Federal Housing Estate, Ogbor Hill, Aba.
When this reporter went to take her photographs, Mercy charged at him, calling him a mad man and threatened to deal with him if he ever took her picture.
A resident of the area, John Ndudi described Mercy’s case as pathetic.
He said if her people have been looking for her all these while and she was eventually found in Aba, they would have braced all odds to reach her irrespective of her current condition of health.
For the relations of Mercy who had looked for her over the years believing she was dead and performed a ‘burial’ for her, she is not dead and may recover from her present state of mind if proper care is extended to her, many in Aba believed.