Jean Marie Coquard

Jean Marie Coquard was the Missionary of the Holy Catholic Church to Abeokuta who established the first hospital in Nigeria in 1859. Marie Coquard was trained as a sailor and destined for the French naval service but accident brought his ship to the Slave Coast about which he read at school and in ships’ cabins. Unfolded before him was the actual scene of the tales of bara coons packed to the doorsteps with wretched potential human cargoes destined for the plantations of the new world. Coquard thereafter became a Catholic priest, before he could obtain a diploma from the Lyon’s school where he trained in combination with the study of medicine. Coquard saw his native France only twice in forty years, and he worked for the people of Abeokuta sometimes fourteen hours in a day. On the morning of the 28th day of June, 1933, Abeokuta gave the priest a magnificent funeral and mourned him as their own.

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer