BY AGNES NWORIE, ABAKALIKI
Ogboji, a sprawling community in the tropical recess of Ebonyi State, is home to scores of Igbo people with amazing bone setting skills.
The community prides itself as a land with a thriving history of bone cure. Regardless of the types and degrees of fractures or dislocations that a victim might present, those who had undergone the cure processes stated that the Ogboji bone setters would mend the crack.
A visit by The Point correspondent into the deep recess of Ogboji community in Ezza North Local Government Area of the state reveals the facts about the expertise of bone setters in the village.
Nearly all kindreds and families in the community are endowed with the unusual craft of bone setting.
In an interview with The Point, the head of Ogboji community, Ezeogo Nwite Ngele, explained that the endowment was divinely inspired for the people.
According to Ngele, the skill has launched the community into limelight, just as it grows into a virile industry which provides gainful employment for the inhabitants and boosts the economy of the area.
He said, “The skill of bone setting is an ancient blessing to my community. It dates back to the days of our forefathers. The local people are so efficacious in it that when one has fractures of any kind in the entire South East, the first place that comes to mind is Ogboji community in Ebonyi State.
“In every family or among kindreds, you would see one, two or three persons with the gift. And, if the person for any reason refuses to answer the call of healing people with the gift, he or she is bound to be having problems in the preferred endeavours. That is why some of our people who don’t want to be traditional bone setters strive to have formal education in order to become orthodox orthopedic practitioners.
“There are bonds to be signed both privately and publicly. This is to tell you that you have the gift of bone setting. It is not fetish or diabolic, rather, it is service to humanity.
“Everybody, every community and every country is endowed with gifts from God. When you discover and work towards God’s plan for you, your endeavors will be blessed. God’s gift of traditional bone setting has showcased my community to the limelight. You can’t talk about bone setting in Ebonyi State and South East in general without mentioning Ogboji as the preferred place to get cheap and fast healing.
“Anybody with the gift in my community is a health worker, whether you have a formal education or not.”
A 55-year-old traditional bone setter, Nwoba Ogodoali, stated that she acquired the expertise from her mother and she started practising 40 years ago, in her father’s house at Azuuro village, at age 15.
“You can’t talk about bone setting in Ebonyi State and South East in general without mentioning Ogboji as the preferred place to get cheap and fast healing
Ogodoali held that the local endowment had overriding advantages over orthodox practice, saying that the traditional method is faster and cheaper.
Reacting to the notion that traditional bone setting processes predispose patients with open wounds to infections thereby leading to amputation, Ogodoali said that in as much as the services were cheaper with faster healing processes, the method should be developed in synergy with the orthodox medical practice.
According to her, the orthodox practice has some advantages over the traditional method. One of the advantages of orthodox method is the availability of X- ray, record keeping, proper pain management system, and improved management of open wounds among others.
“Government should stop fighting the traditional healers, rather they should support us. Let us work in synergy to complement each other. When someone goes to the hospital with fractures, it takes longer time and requires huge amount of money to heal. And when it finally heals, after some years, you will need more money and time to undergo another surgery to remove the metal used to hold the bones in place during the healing process. But for traditional bone setting, when you are healed it is always whole.
“The few impediments that I discovered over the years are why I employ the services of a patient medicine dealer popularly known as chemists to take care of open wounds and bleeding before I commence my work. With the bone setting gift from God, I have no need looking for job or to venture into trading, but I am a good farmer. My family and I barely buy things from the market because I rear animals, cultivate crops of all varieties and pay my children’s school fees comfortably from the proceeds from bone setting.
“Over the years, the longest period a patient had stayed in my place is two months. Others are back to their homes within weeks if the patient is younger. I attend to them mornings and nights, depending on the stage and extent of healing,” she said.
A patient named Peter Oginiyi, said that after a road accident in 2020, despite his wife being a matron at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, he was taken to a local treatment home at Ogboji were he got healed within weeks after receiving treatment on the open wounds at the teaching hospital.
“One evening in December 2020, I rode my bike to see some friends and buy some toiletries and snacks for my kids. I had an accident involving a hit and run driver.
My left leg and hand were fractured. I was rushed to AEFUTHA where my wife is a matron. There, the bruises and bleeding were taken care of and my wife, a staff nurse, moved for my discharge and took me to an Ogboji traditional bone setter. I was treated within weeks without going for operation.”
Efforts to reach the Commissioner for Health in Ebonyi State, Daniel Umezuruike, for comments on traditional bone setting in Ogboji were not successful as at press time.