The founder of the Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, Chief Afe Babalola, on Thursday reunited two mental patients with their families 15 years after separation.

He equally called on Nigerians not to stigmatise patients suffering from mental illness.

The two female mental patients from Ondo and Kogi states, rehabilitated by Babalola with the support of a psychiatric expert, Dr Joshua Falade, were picked up from the streets for rehabilitation at Afe Babalola University Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti.

Babalola, who spoke at the unification ceremony at ABUAD, said, “What I did was to display passion for humanity and I believe we can all do same. The lunatics on the streets are humans, don’t stone or discriminate against them. Instead of doing that, bring them to ABUADTH for treatment.

“From today, these two ladies have become my daughters and I will establish them with businesses that will make them successful in life. This university and hospital were established to fight poverty through philanthropy. I am only happy when people around me are happy.”

Babalola said ABUAD had received approval from the Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, the intention of the university to take lunatics off Ekiti streets for rehabilitation.

The psychiatric expert, Falade, said the two ladies were brought to life through Babalola’s instrumentality after sleeping in the forest and roaming the streets for years.

He added, “After recovery, we were able to trace their families where we were told that they had suffered mental illness and got lost where they were receiving treatment.”

Falade, who called on well-meaning Nigerians and organisations to replicate Babalola’s gesture, said, “Mental illness is still being stigmatised in Nigeria. It is common.”

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