The quiet town of Mgbakwu in Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State, was thrown into mourning recently when a 40-year old woman and bread winner of her family, Mrs Ifeyinwa Obalum, was attacked and killed by a mad man in Amaezike Village of the town. Reports had it that the mad man who lived in the village, attacked the late Ifeyinwa with a machete after laying an ambush for her. He was later killed by angry villagers who also burnt his family house. The woman was said to have met her untimely death on her way to Mgbakwu Market where she sold pap.
Reports had it that the news of the fate that befell the late Mrs Obalum got to her family when her daughter ran home shouting and calling her father, who is visually impaired, informing him that their mother who left home a few minutes previously had been killed.
Narrating the incident, the husband of the deceased, Mr Reginald Obalum, said that his wife left for the market after saying their morning prayers, only to be accosted a few houses away from their house and killed by the mad man.
According to Mr Obalum, her untimely death had left him, his seven children, including their epileptic son, helpless, as the woman was the bread winner of the family.
The first daughter of the deceased who is seventeen years old, Miss Chinyere Obalum, called on government and other individuals to come to their aid, as according to her, they had nobody to cater for their education.
Interestingly, the case of the late Mrs Obalum was not the first of its kind in the village as a similar incident was said to have happened in the past. The case is also not limited to Mgbakwu. In many communities, known mad people are seen walking the streets and wielding such dangerous weapons as sharp objects, machetes and big sticks. People usually ignore them until something bad happens as in the case at Mgbakwu.
One therefore, wonders why nothing is done to checkmate the activities of such mad people. Those mad people have families who harbour them. The first people expected to take action against mad people are members of their families. There are ways of handling mad people and chief among those ways is for the affected families to rein them in, especially if they are violent.
They should be either be taken to psychiatric hospitals or be prevented from coming out while receiving treatment in their homes. This way, members of the public, and even affected families, are put out of harm's way as mad people have been known to also attack members of their immediate families.
If the family of the mad man in Mgbakwu had done the needful, Mrs Obalum would probably be alive today. The said man was reported to be often seen carrying a machete. It is saddening that despite knowing his mental state, he was allowed to carry such a dangerous weapon by both his immediate family and members of the community.
In some cases, such mentally unbalanced people are given wives by their families rather than having them treated. Even though such wives often end up in the hands of other men, it shows the mentality of some people who shy away from facing issues.
Mad people are always a danger to society and are unpredictable. This is why they should never be allowed to walk freely. In civilised societies, mad people are never seen in the open as institutions exist that take care of them.
We suggest that a law be made that will prohibit mad people from walking the streets. Families who fail to rein in their mentally unbalanced members should face sanctions for breaching such a law.
We must learn to do things the right way.