How Nigerian Twitter helped keke rider raise over N1 million to pay hospital bills
When Emmanuel Nweke’s wife Gift was delivered of a baby through a Caesarean section (CS) on November 5, he was happy the child and his wife were in good condition.
But there was a problem. The hospital bill was way more than he could afford. His monthly income was too meagre to support such a burden.
“I looked everywhere, but no hope,” 30-year-old Emmanuel told The Guardian during a visit to his home in Lagos.
The tricycle he rides, according to him, was acquired through hire purchase. He had an agreement with the owner to deposit N20,000 weekly until he completes the full payment of N800,000 before he takes full ownership of the tricycle.
In three months, Emmanuel had paid N180,000 to the owner of the tricycle in honour of their initial agreement.
Married to a 22-year- old Gift who is heavily pregnant, Emmanuel had the burden of fulfilling his weekly financial obligation to his boss and a family to cater for.
With the delivery date of his expected baby getting closer, Emmanuel said he had to intensify the efforts he puts into his transportation business to meet up with the medical fee.
Days and weeks went by, the day of delivery came, but with an unpleasant surprise for Emmanuel and his wife.
“I brought my wife to the hospital with the few items we have been able to buy. So I returned to work and hoped to have gotten some money by the time she delivers,” Emmanuel said.
“But to my surprise, the doctor called me that my wife cannot deliver the normal way, that it has to be through CS operation (Caesarean section) and I was told that the fee is N170,000.”
Emmanuel said he decided to deposit the remaining N10,000 on him as a commitment fee to the hospital for the operation and believed a miracle could happen.
The day after he left, the hospital called Emmanuel to tell him his wife had been successfully delivered of a baby boy.
“I was grateful to God because I was afraid to sign the form when I was told that my wife chance of survival after the operation is 50/50,” Emmanuel said.
The joy of having a baby soon deteriorated gradually after Emmanuel was told that his wife and baby will only be allowed to leave the hospital if he pays up the N160,000 balance.
He has no way of paying such an amount. The hospital told him his wife and the baby, now aptly named Praise, would be held until the money is paid.
Emmanuel resorted to soliciting financial help from family and church members, but all to no avail. He then decided to turn to Nigerians on Twitter.
Heartbroken seeing his wife and baby held in the hospital because of the balance, Emmanuel took pictures of the mother and son and posted it on “Twitter that Nigerians should help me.”
“Please help me Nigerians my wife and child have been held up in the hospital since November 6th 2019 bcos we are unable to settle the Medical Bills she gave birth through C.S which we didn’t plan towards it..I’m a Keke Napep Driver I’m pleading on you all to help me please,” Emmanuel tweeted on Monday, December 2.
Surprisingly, in 48-hours Nigerians home and abroad had supported his plight with over N1million, over 800 per cent above the initial N160,000 Emmanuel needed. This did not happen in a vacuum.
We want to thank Our Dearest Nigerians for Helping us Pay our hospital Bills which gave us the opportunity to go home today after 29 days at the hospital..We got more than the required Amount because of your love and care We Appreciate and God Bless you All. pic.twitter.com/mDK9E9EOtQ
— Biggy Nony (@LilNony1) December 4, 2019
The 2019 World Giving Index ranked Nigeria seventh on the list of countries where strangers can easily get help. There are 126 on the list. That ranking is reflected in how quickly Nweke’s appeal was honoured.
“I never knew Nigerians are this generous,” he said. “With this, I have made up my mind to be of help to anyone in need if it is within my capacity.”
“Apart from the monies and calls I’ve received from Nigeria, US and UK, a lot of people have called me and given us very expensive gift item which I have gone to collect.”
Emmanuel disclosed that two persons, one in Nigeria and the other in the United Kingdom have also placed his son on a monthly salary pay.
Nweke’s sense of transparency and accountability – something the bulk of Nigerian leaders lack – was also a factor. He updated his Twitter timeline with screenshots of credit alerts he received with the name and amount he received from each person. He also provided regular updates about his wife and baby with photo and video evidence.
“This is a story of three things: accountability, the response to accountability, and the goodness of Nigerian hearts under the right conditions despite all the odds,” Cheta Nwanze, lead researcher at SBM Intelligence wrote on Twitter.
With his expectations exceeded, Emmanuel disclosed plans to use the remainder of the money to set-up a business for his wife which will serve as an alternative means of income for the family.
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