By John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Kagoma chiefdom in Jama’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State has conferred a traditional title of “Byeh Gwong” (Helper of Kagoma),
on Seth Thomas, an 18-year-old
British student for building a health centre in Asso village.
Seth was conferred with the title in the village Friday by the paramount ruler of Kagoma Kingdom, the Kpop Gwong, Col. Paul Zakka Wyom (rtd), at a colourful ceremony during the commissioning of the facility which was constructed at the cost of £50,000 (about N23.4m).
Speaking at the event, which was attended by Seth’s father, Mr. Mervyn Thomas, who is the Chief Executive of UK-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide, (CSW-UK), the traditional ruler said his people will remain eternally grateful to Thomas for helping them.
Recalling how the project came about, Wyom said in 2017, he attended a meeting of the CSW in Abuja, where he told the story of the persistent attacks in Southern Kaduna communities and how the attackers invaded Asso village and killed 12 people in April 2017.
He said after the meeting, Seth and his father were moved by the story and decided to visit Asso village to see things for themselves.
“It never crossed my mind that a miracle was on the way. Our people will remain eternally grateful to Seth for his kind heart,” the traditional ruler said.
He said the clinic will benefit Asso and many other communities in the area and urged wealthy Nigerians to come to the aid of rural communities by taking a cue from Seth and provide basic facilities that could improve the living condition of the people.
Wyom charged the community to take good care of the facility which was commissioned by the President of Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), Rev. Stephen Panya Baba.
The facility was also handed over to ECWA to manage.
In his remarks at the occasion, Seth said he was inspired to initiate the project by the terrible condition of a young boy, Jude Ayuba, who he met during his visit to Asso village.
He said he was touched that Ayuba’s leg was badly infected by a bullet wound because he couldn’t afford proper medical attention.
“As I left you that day and drove out of the village, I couldn’t get out of my mind the image of poor Jude with his badly infected leg, due to the bullet lodged in it.
“I asked our host, Rev. Yunusa Nmadu, why Jude couldn’t have had proper medical attention.
“He told me that it was because the nearest hospital was many miles away. At that very moment I determined in my heart that with God’s help, I would raise the money to build you your own hospital here in Asso,” he said.
Narrating how he raised £50,000 for the project, he said: “When I got back to my school, the first thing I did was to persuade them to fundraise for the Asso clinic/hospital, and over the next six months, my school friends raised £15,000.
“My headmaster let me speak at a special service celebrating my school’s 150th anniversary, and the offering that day was over £2,500.
“But I was still a very long way from the target of £50,000 which I needed to build this hospital.
“Some people even told me that it was impossible, and that I should give up. But I couldn’t get the image of you, my brothers and sisters out of my mind.
“Then God gave me the verse from Luke 18:27 – ‘What is impossible for people is possible with God’. From that moment I had no doubt at all that God would provide.
“I wrote to many people telling them about your situation, and got many gifts, some large and some small.
“Then one day the breakthrough came when I emailed one of my Dad’s friends, who was the head of an organisation in Canada called Voice of the Martyrs.
“Within 30 minutes of sending that message, I had a reply, and it said ‘whatever you raise, we will match, up to a total of £25,000’! Hallelujah, praise the Lord!”
The clinic has a maternity room, two admission rooms, theatre, pharmacy, laboratory, a consulting room and two toilets.
A two-bedroom apartment and a mini guest house were also constructed for health workers who will operate the facility.