By Jane Onozure
He is a victim of an armed robbery attack that left many people dead along the Sagamu – Benin expressway five years ago. But Ifechukwu Eze was lucky to be one of the survivors who lived to tell the tale of that scary encounter with men of the underworld.
Narrating his experience at the time, Eze informed that the incident that almost cost him his life occurred while he was on his way back to Lagos after travelling to his home town in Anambra State. This was in June 1, 2006.
He had boarded what is commonly known as a night bus based on cost consideration as travelling by night was cheaper. The journey was initially uneventful until the bus got to Asaba where they were accosted by the robbers who went on to dispossess them of their phones and other valuable items.
Not satisfied with robbing the hapless travellers, the bandits asked them to lie on the expressway, ostensibly to serve as a form of barrier to in-coming vehicles.
This was a setting for imminent tragedy as no sooner did the terrified travellers obeyed this command than some vehicles coming at top speed ran over them. Some of the passengers died instantly while others died on the way as they were being rushed to the hospital.
“I was among the people that were rushed to the hospital. It took me several days before I woke up as I was unconscious for weeks. When I finally woke up, I found out that I couldn’t stand up. At this time it had not dawned on me that I was in the hospital because I was still dazed.
“But when I tried to stand up, I found out that I couldn’t and then felt a sharp pain. When I looked down I saw bandage all over my body. As I was trying to talk, a senior matron came in and I asked her what I was doing in the hospital and how I got there. It was the matron who told me what had happened to me.
“She said I was a victim of a robbery incident, adding that it was the police that brought me to the hospital. According to her, they thought I was already dead, so they were going to take me to the morgue.
It was also through her I learnt that those who died had already been buried. She said I was to have been buried as well before it was discovered I was still alive.
So they took me to their intensive unit to revive me first,” Eze narrated, adding that he was at that hospital for about eight months before he was transferred to Igbobi in Lagos.
Eze said before he was brought to Igbobi, he was advised by the officials of the hospital where was being treated to ensure he did whatever he was asked to do. “I told them that they have to explain what it is they wanted to do to me to enable me make the right decision. It was after this the arrangement was completed and they took me to Igbobi in Yaba.
“But on getting there, they started discussing things I didn’t understand, so I called my cousin and asked him to come and take me away from that place. So when my cousin came, he asked me if I was sure I didn’t want to stay in Igobobi, I said yes that I don’t understand what was going on and that the quicker I got treated the better for me. So my cousin took me away and we went to meet an Ijaw man who treats bone injuries.
The man started talking about the price, but I told him not to bother about that but to go on and treat me so that I can get back on my feet again. Well, I will say the man tried his best, but somehow the flesh refused to heal.
So one of the doctors who treated me at home, said I should try LUTH, at Idi Araba. When I got there, they checked me and told me that my case was not one to be rushed, that the treatment will be a gradual process.
So they started treating one of my legs because I could not afford to have the two legs treated at the same time. After they finished, they said I should come for the second one, but I could not make it because I had run out of money.
“A lot of money was required at this stage because they said they were going to fix an artificial knee cap for me as the knee cap was already broken. The artificial knee cap, I was informed, was too expensive. So I asked them to do only one first because I don’t have money for the other leg. So I went back home, hoping I could somehow raise the my money for the second knee. But I have not been able to because my business is no longer thriving.
“I used to travel to China and Italy where I buy goods to sell. But since this incident, I have not been able to travel to buy goods; even the ones I have right now in my shop, I bought on credit. I just sell and return the money. I don’t have any money right now, so I can’t talk of going to treat my leg. To make matters worse, armed robbers still came, in spite of my condition, to rob me. They have robbed me more than twice.
“Presently, I am helpless. So, I am appealing to well-meaning Nigerians and the government, to help me so that I can treat my leg and be on my feet again,” he pleaded. Ifechukwu Eze, can be reached on this address: 28, Tolu Road, Olodi Apapa Lagos or on phone number: 08060678468