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Meet The So-Called Refugee Father That Used His Daughter As A Collateral For N600,000 Loan

You read some stories and just wonder
why. This is the story of a fisherman, Edet
Okon who had fled his ancestral home in Efut
Obot Ikot in the ceded Bakassi Peninsula in
March 2013 when Cameroonian
gendermanes attacked the village in which a
lot of indigenes lost their lives and scores
sustained varying degrees of life-threatening
injuries. This led Edet Okon and his family to
a dusty village in Akwa Ikot Eyo Edem, Cross
Rivers State where there story even went

Shortly after they began living as a refugee
there, Edet discovered his first daughter was
down with blood cancer and he didn’t want
her to juts die unattended too. So he decided
to use his 12-year old daughter, Mary as
collateral to borrow N600,000 from a man in
calabar. The girl later died, and 19months
after, he is yet to pay the said money, which
has made Mary to be living in agony with her
father’s creditor. Continue below to read the
rest of the story as reported by Punch.

His daughter now a collateral
Okon, who joined our correspondent on a
tour of the overcrowded refugee camps,
appeared less bothered about the life of
squalor they now lead.
The fisherman lost his first daughter,
Blessing, to the cold hands of death in
September 2013, after battling with blood
cancer for five months.

But Okon’s agony did not end with Blessing’s
death. Indeed, he now lives in the pool of the
anguish of a man who has to practically sell
his child into slavery. To raise funds for the
series of medical tests, drugs, feeding and
hospital bills incurred by Blessing, he opted to
secure loans from someone to save her
dying daughter.

With no property to guarantee the loan,
Okon gave up his second daughter, Mary, as
collateral to secure the sum of N600, 000
given to him in installments.
Our correspondent gathered that the creditor
is a civil servant based in Calabar.

“I was desperate to save Blessing from
dying. Her situation had become critical at
that time. That was the only thing I could do
to salvage the situation. I am heartbroken,”
Okon said, as his voice faded off, breaking
down in tears.

As tears rolled down his cheeks, he recalled
the day he ‘sold’ her daughter into servitude.
“I don’t know what came over me. It was
sheer desperation I gave out my daughter so
that the man would accept to give us the
money,” Okon added, fighting back regrets
of what many are likely to regard as


Our correspondent reached out to the
intermediary, Daniel Ufot. He helped Okon to
negotiate the N600, 000 loan from the
creditor. On getting to the residence of the
59-year-old Ufot, who lives some five
kilometres away from the camp, our
correspondent found Mary in his residence.
Ufot explained that some plain-cloth security
operatives keeping watch on the camp had
asked him to bring Mary from Calabar to
meet with his father who he had not seen in
19 months.

“I do not know Okon from Adam. But since
I’m an expert in money lending, I offered to
help him after having learnt of his
predicament on how he had been battling to
save the life of his daughter.

“But unfortunately, he could not provide any
form of collateral to secure the loan. But the
creditor, in his magnanimity, agreed to have
her daughter as collateral since she was the
only valuable ‘thing’ he could offer,” Ufot said.
In a chat with this correspondent, Mary, who
was a junior secondary school 2 pupil before
they left Bakassi in March, 2013, has since
dropped out of school following their
displacement from the oil rich peninsular. She
shared horrible tales of inhuman treatment in
the hands of her father’s creditor.

Every morning, Mary hawks bottle water on
the streets of Calabar, where, incidentally,
Mary Slessor stopped the killing of twins.

Observers may also spot the irony in the
name of the legendary missionary and the
enslaved Mary Okon. She added that on any
day she failed to exhaust the sales of her
wares, her new guardians descended heavily
on her, beating her mercilessly in the

“The man my father is owing has three
female children and some other relatives are
also putting up with us in the house. They
normally give me a revenue target of N1, 000

“And sometimes when the market is bad and
I don’t finish selling the water, they beat me
up. They treat me very badly. I eat only once
in a day and that is in the morning.

“I wash all their clothes, including the ladies’
pants, and do other house chores, too. And if
I hesitate on washing their pants, they get
infuriated and throw objects at me at will. I
will not feel happy if I go back there,” she

Yet, Ufot insisted that he only brought Mary
to meet with his father as a respite since he
had not set his eyes on her for about 19

“There are no signs that they would be
repaying the loan. I only obeyed the
instruction of the security men. She will be
on her way back to the creditor’s place in
Calabar,” Ufot said.

When contacted, the Refugee Camp Leader,
Etim Ene, confirmed to our correspondent on
the telephone on Monday that Mary has
indeed returned to the creditor in Calabar.
Ene said, “Mary has been taken to the
creditor’s house in Calabar South. He was
taken away by the guarantor, on December

Efforts by our correspondent to trace the
address of the creditor, whose name is given
as Asuquo Etim, said to be residing on
Atimbo Road, Calabar South Local
Government Area, was abortive. The creditor
is said to be an employee of the Cross River
State Urban Development Agency.

Ufot had earlier refused to allow Mary to
travel with our correspondent to her master’s
residence for fear of the unknown.

Mary’s mother was away in the farm during
a visit by The Punch.

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Posted By KellyChi On 08:43 Tue, 30 Dec 2014

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