Timothy Cosmos Itoro is the 25-year-old ‘Pastor’ who was healing the mad man, Tunde, at Oke-Ado area of Ibadan on Thursday, 28th June, 2012 when he suddenly lost his senses and whose story was published on page 4 of the Friday 29 June, 2012 edition of the Nigerian Tribune. On Tuesday, 3rd July, he walked into the Tribune House, Imalefalafia, Ibadan accompanied by his brother, Blessing, after our reporter had put a call through to his mother to ask after him. They spoke with Taiwo Olanrewaju on Itoro's journey to and return from insanity.
HE was still stressed up. He looked pale with parched lips. Considering his Thursday, 28 June, 2012 ordeal, he was not expected to look robust yet.
The 25-year-old security guard, who was working with one of the security outfits in Abuja, was posted to Ibadan on September 6, 2011, where he was given the onerous task of securing a building at Joyce B area of Ibadan, Oyo State.
According to the Akwa-Ibom State indigene, who was born and brought up in Ibadan, the owner of the building, a Lagos based banker, considered his age and asked him to learn a vocation if he wished.
Itoro, who is a member of the choir in his church, one of the new generation churches at Felele, Ibadan, said he did try to learn a vocation, but that wherever he went, he was turned down. Not only was he asked to come back, the young man believed that people were running away from him.
Unable to recollect when he began to notice that people were avoiding him though, it was clear that Itoro had lived a lonely and stereo-typed lifestyle in the last 10 months since he came to Ibadan.
When he could not find a job, he only went to church, visited the security guard of a white man living close to his place of work, went to Dugbe, Oke-Ado or Oja'ba markets to buy foodstuffs, aside that, he stayed indoors, all alone in the big building.
“Except at Christmas time, when the owner of the building came home, I was the only one in the house. I wet the flowers and pumped water and was paid N10, 000 as salary at the end of every month”, he said.
Also, Itoro had been bothered about the fact that he was living under a false identity. He is Timothy Cosmos Itoro and not Collins that he bears. He registered with the security company he works for as Collins and his Automated Teller Card (ATM) also bears Collins, which he is not.
So on the D-day, Itoro said he set out to achieve two goals; one, to let the world know that he was not Collins but Timothy and two, to “leave the earth” (die) because people did not like him.
On leaving home, he said he visited a church member, one Brother Aborisade, at Ladega's compound at Oke-Ado, where they prayed together. He, thereafter, left for a popular hospital at Oke-Ado where he asked the doctor on duty to inject him to death. He said the doctor told the nurses on duty to chase him away, while the doctor left the hospital premises in his car.
“I was walking along Oke-Ado area when I saw the mad man. I crossed to his side of the road. I gave him the last money on me, five naira (N5). I only wanted to see if the mad man would run away from me. So, when I sat by his side and he did not run away from me, I sat there. I later held his legs and said, "Jesus, Jesus".
“I am not a pastor, so I was not trying to heal him. I discovered that something entered into me and I took off my clothes. By then, a crowd had gathered. Water was poured on me. I was beaten on my chest. Some people put my clothes back on me so as not to be naked. Some pastors put anointing oil on me and carried me to one house where I was laid on the floor. They bought pure water and mineral for me. After sipping some of the mineral, I regained some strength.
“I was very weak. I couldn't talk very well. I relaxed a bit but couldn't walk by myself. When people had left, at about 8p.m, some people carried brooms; they beat me and poured hot water on me, saying," where are you going, go back?” Itoro explained.
Our reporters at the scene of the event noted that nobody beat or poured hot water on him. His mother, Felicia, was contacted on phone by one of our reporters.
How Itoro got home, the Nigerian Tribune could not ascertain, but the young man said he got home later in the day, while his brother, Blessing continued the story.
Blessing Cosmos said there are three of them born to their parents. The three of them lived with their mother in Abuja until Itoro secured his employment and was transferred to Ibadan where their father lives. He said he got to know about Itoro's case through his mother and boarded a night bus that same Thursday night in the company of his mother and both met Itoro at his Joyce B work place in Ibadan. “He is already receiving treatment.” He added.
Another problem the young man had was paucity of funds. He said two days after receiving his salary, it would have been spent, even as he said he ought to have been receiving N20,000 per month and not N10,000 because he worked two shifts, day and night.
All is not well at the home front too, as Itoro, who has been dismissed by the owner of the building at Joyce B road, said he did not want to live with his parents, who he said were separated. Although his brother promised to accommodate him, Itoro said he did not want to live with his brother because he has a family of his own.
It is not yet uhuru for Itoro, who though, could recollect most of the things that happened to him, is still undergoing some psychological problems. Call it frustration, depression or mental disorder at its early stage, Itoro too knows that all is not well with him. He spoke with bitterness against his parents and siblings, who he said knew what he was passing through and yet left him to his fate.
Although Blessing said their mum sent his brother N2, 000 when he complained that he didn't have money on Tuesday before the incident, Itoro disclosed that the Thursday, June 28, 2012 ordeal was the third or fourth time he had suffered spiritual attack, twice at Yemetu area of Ibadan where he once resided.
As at press time, one thing was certain though, Itoro did not want to die again. When asked if he still wanted to die, he was hesitant and did not speak for a while. He later shook his head to signify his intention not to die. But on the insistent of this reporter, he spoke and said he did not want to die again. Even at that, a lot still needs to be done about Itoro medically, mentally, spiritually, psychologically and educationally.