By Joshua Ovorumu and Itoro Etukudo

In a video released recently, Amaechi Muonagor, a popular Nollywood actor, opened up on his ailment.

The veteran Nollywood actor could be seen trying to talk as he introduced himself and summarised his illness. Before that, reports surfaced alleging that the actor was sick – paralysed.

He said he did not publicly announce his condition since he did not expect it to linger.

“Right now, I can’t move; I can’t walk on my own. Half of my left leg is paralysed, and my left hand is not movable, so it is a problem for me.

“I’m calling on well-spirited individuals to come to my assistance, to see how they can help me. It is paralysis, half of my body.”

Earlier, John Okafor, better known as Mr Ibu, was shown in severe condition while being treated at a hospital. He disclosed that he was suffering from a horrible sickness that threatened his limbs. He made a public plea for prayers and financial support for his medical care in the video.

The Bukola Saraki Foundation cleared his medical bills as other Nigerians raised funds for him.

Ibu is a Nollywood veteran who has spent decades in the industry. He is well known for his humorous characterisation in each of his films.  

Towards the end of 2021, a veteran Nollywood actor, Clem Ohameze, appealed to the public for prayers and financial support as he prepared to undergo spinal surgery.

Similarly, Prince Emeka Ani, an actor whose predicament started in 2020, suffered from a partial stroke and solicited help from Nigerians.

In 2022, Nollywood actress Kemi Afolabi revealed that she was diagnosed with lupus. She also said due to the illness, she had just five years to live.

Afolabi disclosed that she had to sell her automobile to pay the N1.2 million for medication she needed to take weekly to manage her disease.

The actress’ colleagues took to the public to solicit support to raise money for her medical care.

Taking to social media, actresses Toyin Abraham and Mercy Aigbe announced the creation of a GoFundMe page to support the ailing actress. 

Meanwhile, the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) refuted accusations that it forsook John Okafor, who is currently recuperating.

Created in 1998, AGN serves as the umbrella organisation for professional screen actors in Nigeria’s motion picture industry, known as Nollywood, promoting awareness, safeguarding members’ interests, and ensuring their well-being.

The guild, in a statement by the Director of Communications, Kate Henshaw, said that health insurance options have been made available for all their members.

“We want to set the records straight over the public outcry that the guild and his colleagues have abandoned Mr Ibu. The guild has never abandoned any of its members in need, especially with health interventions.

“We’ve been at the forefront of providing necessary support to Mr Ibu even before his health condition was ever made public, and this was done with full knowledge of his immediate family members.”

“We’ve had to task members privately to help in providing assistance towards the intervention. We do not make public any form of assistance we provide for our members in need”, she stated.

In 2021, the guild launched funds for ailing members, generating about N2.7 million. Some ailing actors who benefitted from it include Tom Njemanze, Prince Emeka Ani, Bruno Iwuoha, Evelyn Osugo, Ken Odunukwe, and Tony Goodman.

Earlier this year, AGN partnered with Medicard Health Management and Universal Insurance to re-launch the health management and insurance scheme for its members.

At the re-launch, the guild’s National President, Ejezie Emeka Rollas, claimed that the health and welfare of members was one of his administration’s top concerns and that they would ensure members have access to adequate medical care.

Following the re-launch, the guild organised a week-long health and wellness sensitization programme to raise awareness and encourage members to enrol in the health management system and insurance policy.