By Onozure Dania
Olufunmi Grace Aiyedungbe, sister of a victim of the October 20 Lekki Tollgate shootings, Aiyedungbe Gabriel Ayoola, narrated how her brother died on November 12 at LASUTH after suffering gunshot wounds to the head and lying in a coma for days.
However, she noted, the hospital said he died from COVID-19 complications.
Grace was among the 15 #ENDSARS protesters that were at the Lagos State Court of Arbitration and Mediation in Lekki, venue of Lagos State Judicial Panel of Enquiry and Restitution for Victims of SARS-related abuses and other matters on Friday.
She said: “He died on November 12. He had been at the hospital since the incident happened on October 20. He was shot in the head.
“We were looking for him and didn’t know at first because he didn’t live with us. It was a Good Samaritan that rescued him and took him to the hospital.
“We had been looking for him, calling his phone. I don’t know who took his phone when the incident happened. The person was charging it and it was ringing, but nobody was picking.”
She further said that Gabriel’s picture was made into a poster and had been circulating on WhatsApp without her family’s knowledge.
Grace said: “It was somebody who saw the poster asking that he be connected with his family that sent the picture to me on WhatsApp.
“That was when we went to LASUTH. It was after about 19 days that we went to LASUTH. They said he was in a coma for like two weeks. By the time we got there he was already moving his fingers, he had already opened his eyes.
“But later, at some point, the medical people told us they wanted to do an MRI scan and the whole thing was taking like forever.
“At some point they said he needed collar; that they needed to know what was going on in his chest. Someone even offered to go and buy the collar.
“Only for one of them to come and tell us that we shouldn’t, that they would supply the collar.
“Till my brother breathed his last, we didn’t see the collar. They prevented us from buying it ourselves. What eventually killed my brother was negligence on the part of the medical practitioners.
When asked how she knew Gabriel was an #EndSARS protester, she said: “Someone sent something to me on WhatsApp. It was a poster of him.
“They wrote ‘#EndSARS victim. Please help us connect him with his family,’ something like that. That was what I saw that we traced to LASUTH.
“He was taken to the hospital. When we got there, they said he was part of the #EndSARS protesters and that somebody brought him in. They told us the ward where he was and we met him there.”
Asked if she knew where her brother was shot, Grace said: “They didn’t tell us. When we got to the hospital, they only asked us to prove that we were his family and we brought his picture, birth certificate and the likes.”
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She explained that she had no way of proving that Gabriel was shot at Lekki Tollgate or elsewhere.
“Yes, but we know that he was shot from the protest and they brought him there (on the day of the protest).”
She accused the hospital of a cover-up.
“I think there is a cover-up going on somewhere, because at some point after he gave up, they said they wanted to carry out an autopsy on him to determine what killed him, because, according to them, some people that were shot on the head did not later die.
“When we asked for an autopsy to be carried out on my brother’s corpse to determine if it’s actually true that he died of COVID-19, this doctor was telling us that there was no need for it.
“We have all the voice recordings. Grace identified the doctor as “Dr Adewunmi”.