Ailing Nollywood actor, Prince James Uche, who was abandoned by his wife some years back, is now facing eviction notice from his landlord.
Uche had fallen ill after something struck him on his face.
Unknown to many movie fans and fellow Nollywood practitioners, James, a former Vice President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria and seasoned actor, is still struggling to survive a strange illness that has kept him off the screen for eight years.
The actor, who is still battling with an undefined heart disease, memory and sight loss has been served an eviction notice by his landlord, ordering him to vacate his residence at 45, Yetunde Brown Street, Gbagada, Lagos.
In a chat with Punch, Uche, who now spends most of his time in the premises of a Catholic church near his residence, recounts his ordeal.
He said, “All I can remember is that something struck me on the left side of my face about eight years ago, when I was heading for the burial ceremony of Pete Edochie’s mother at Nteje in Anambra State. I had no idea what hit me in the face, but it happened when I arrived at the junction leading to the town.
“I got to the venue of the ceremony and stayed in the town for two days. On the third day, I suddenly found that I could no longer move my body freely. Although I barely managed to get up on my feet, I could not climb up the staircase.
“I had to wait till the following Sunday before deciding to leave for Lagos. But my friend, Edochie, persuaded me to follow him to Enugu where he lived at the time. I slept in Enugu on that day. In the morning I went for treatment in a hospital.
“After the doctor had finished examining me, he stared at me with his mouth half open in shock for a long time. When I asked what was wrong, he said I should have been dead. He took my pulse again and then, sweating, said my blood pressure was abnormally high. He said it had risen up to 300 and it was a miracle that I was still alive.”
Uche got to find out he had a heart problem and the doctor the Enugu hospital prescribed a certain drug for his illness and instructed him to take it for the rest of his life.
Unfortunately, eight years after, the actor, whose career has been seriously affected by the ailment, is still battling for his life and his case has progressively declined over the past years. His kidneys no longer function properly.
The illness has cost him his life savings and even his marriage.
He was able to undergo five dialyses in 2013, with financial assistance from members of his church – Our Lady the Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Gbagada, Lagos but there are fears the kidney may pack up due to inadequate medical attention.
It was gathered from a female member of the Society that Uche’s family, relatives and colleagues have virtually abandoned him to his fate.
She said, “James Uche’s family has not helped his situation at all. Maybe, if they had been around him, his health would not have deteriorated this bad. When his wife took the children and left, he was all alone in their residence. Nobody visited him. None of his relations, colleagues or friends visited him or volunteered to give him his drugs until members of the Society of St. Vincent the Paul decided to care for him.”
It was also learnt that members of the Society had made an effort to contact the Abia State Government, through the representative of the Item Constituency in the House of Assembly, for assistance to the actor but the person did not get back to them.
Sometime last year, word reached the Actors Guild of Nigeria that Uche was still seriously ill. A delegation was sent to visit him in his home. He was subsequently taken another hospital in the Gbagada area of Lagos for treatment and placed on health insurance, which gave him access to free drugs. Ever since, the AGN has done nothing else to assist him.
In 2012, his wife abandoned him because she could no longer cope with the burden of taking care of him and their three children.
Uche, who rose to fame in the 2001 blockbuster, Odigbo, is still languishing in pains and crying for help.
Just recently, Nollywood lost one its actor’s Muna Obiekwe. Muna died in a hospital in Festac, Lagos, after battling with kidney disease.