Seeing them on the big screen and on TV makes us believe they live considerably well, with the celebrity tag making us assume they have all they want, but alas, this is not Hollywood! Events of recent times have shown us these actors aren’t as rich as they act in movies. It gets worse for someone who acts poor in movies, most of them are actually poor. A look portraying poverty makes them ideal for the roles they play, so to say.
For Mr. Romanus Uchenna Amuta aka Natty, he acts poor in movies – he is actually poor. Acting has never really gotten him enough money to live comfortably. He has been down with stroke since 2006, and his financial incapability to get required treatment has worsened his case.
He cannot even afford good clothes or the good things of life, he says, adding that virtually all the property in his residence was acquired in the 1970s and changing them has become a mission impossible.
“Even the best clothes in my wardrobe were bought in 1984 when I made some reasonable money working with Daily Times Newspaper as an Advert Representative in Enugu. Since then, to buy even pant na war,” he stated.
Natty could not hold back tears in an interview with Punch as he lamented, “Will I be poor in New Masquerade and still be poor in real life, and even now that I’m about to die?”
“I’m … … so, so, so, so poor that I could not even cure the stroke when it was just starting. Now that it (the stroke) is even worse, there is no money to even enjoy myself, even if na small enjoyment before I quench like my mama wey die a long time ago.”
Natty came into limelight starring as a true representation of the ‘poverty class’ of the Nigerian society in the New Masquerade series, which was aired on the Nigeria Television Authority for many years.
“I have reached out to my friends, but it appears they have abandoned me to die.”
“For my people (his relatives), they have tried, but they can’t kill themselves. My children have also done their best for me,” he stated.
Despite several overtures to government officials and political appointees through notable personalities in Enugu State, Natty said he had been ignored.
“I believe that if government comes to help me my problems will be over. But the more they delay in coming, the more my body dies, and soon the entire Natty will just die and leave you people.
“If they (government) can send me to any of the best hospitals in the world, I will surely get better and bounce back to life.”
Natty doesn’t just want money; he wants the Enugu State Government to give also him land.
“They should give me land. I need a land and money from government. I need money; plenty money,” he pleaded.
“I will invest in the land or sell it so that I can treat myself or at least take care of myself instead of this poverty.”
“They should give me plenty money, enough to take me out of this country for treatment.”
“If government does not come to help me now, then I will die very soon,” Natty concluded.
Natty is married to Mrs. Cordelia Amuta, a primary school teacher and they have two male and four female children. They are all living in different places.
He hails from Udi Local Government Area in Enugu State and his children are all grown-ups. Poverty never stopped Natty from being naughty; unknown to many, he has a 12-year-old son from another woman whose identity is not known.
One of the surviving members of the New Masquerade cast is Chief Chika Okpala, aka ‘Zebrudaya’. Zebrudaya, who was the lead cast of the series, was approached for comments on Natty’s state and he said, “It is really unfortunate that Nigerian actors have been left to die. I don’t know why calamity has chosen to befall the film industry, especially the cast of the New Masquerade that is almost wiped out.”
James Iroha (Giringory Akabuogu), Christy Essien-Igbokwe (Apena), and Claude Eke (Jegede Shokoya) are all dead, while Davis Offor (Clarus) is currently blind.
“If Natty dies without the government coming to his aid, it will be so bad. But I know that death is a necessary end that must come when it will and so we will not run away from death.
“We don’t know how we came into this world and we don’t know what we signed with God when we were coming.
“All we know is that we came into this world, we met each other and we propagated the show and the show worked. So anywhere God plucks one off, so be it.
“I will keep praying for Natty and we hope something good will come, and early, before it might become late.”