*Now needs N1.5 million for surgery
By Ebun Babalola
Ademola Ibirogba had just settled down for the day’s job at his mechanic workshop at Obadore on the Idimu Egbe road in Lagos on that fateful day two years back when a petroleum tanker unexpectedly ran into some vehicles. The tanker driver had, apparently, lost control.
The scene was soon engulfed in fire with everybody running for his dear life. Ademola’s workshop was not far from the scene. He could have joined the hundreds running the race of their life, but he did not; chose, instead, to pay attention to a couple who were crying, shouting for help and pointing at one of the burning vehicles at the same time. Their baby, just a month old at the time, was in the vehicle.
Seized by emotion, Ademola dived into the burning vehicle and succeeded in rescuing the baby, a girl, who have been mysteriously spared by the fire. “I was happy I was able to save the life of that girl,” he now says.
Unknown to him, however, his own cloth had caught fire while playing the good Samaritan. There was little or no help to put off the fire, struggling on his own to remove the dress.
He succeeded at last but much damage had been done to his body which began to peel off almost immediately.
I was rushed to Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, for treatment. Unfortunately, I wasn’t attended to because of financial difficulties. However, the parents of the baby tried to assist. They paid a particular sum of money. After which I was admitted into the hospital.
At a point, I could no longer foot the bill after spending all I had. My wife spent all she made from her trading. Ditto for relations and friends. My parents could not assist.
I stayed in the hospital for eight months after which, the management of LASUTH threw me out.
I cried out to God for help as it was as if heaven was shut against me.
Fortunately, Lagos State Governor was on a visit to the hospital. He saw me and ordered the management to resume my treatment, but that lasted only 48 hours.
I was on the admission bed when my wife told me that I had been discharged without surgery and further treatment.
I was told that the management of the hospital could no longer manage or tolerate my presence, so I was thrown out.
The doctors and nurses told me they could not continue to treat me because of my financial constraints. So, I accepted my fate and returned home with bandages all over my body.
I have spent all that I have. Right now, I can no longer do anything with my hands. My body is decaying. My wife and my children are hungry. My life is in danger, I don’t even know what to do. My wife is hawking bread to feed the family. Right now, I’m heavily indebted as I seek solution to my health.
His wife, Funke recalled that on the morning of the incident, her husband told her he did feel like going out to the workshop. “My husband called me and said, he wasn’t going out that morning but I pleaded with him that there was no food in the house. So, he decided to go. If I had known, I wouldn’t have allowed him. I never knew that this was what was going to happen.
“My husband is hardworking and diligent in his work. He provides for the needs of his family. He is an easy-going and God fearing young man who believes that extending love to his fellow human being is what should be everybody’s objective.
“If anybody had told him that the reward for helping others would be to lose his life, I’m sure he wouldn’t have done it.
“It’s a surprise that the parents of the child he rescued are now complaining that he sought their assistance to save his own life.
“We have been to different places for help but no one is really ready to help us. We have been thrown out and right now, my husband’s body is already decaying. “We have no money to carry out surgery. His daughter says he needs 1.5 million naira for the operation to be conducted in India.
‘But, we don’t have anyone to help us, we have cried to people but they have turned deaf hears to us.