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My Leg Was Amputated After I Was Shot By Soldiers At Lekki Toll Gate, Rejected By Vedic Hospital — 23-Year-Old Cobbler [PHOTOS]

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Twenty-three-year-old Olalekan Faleye, a survivor of the shooting that attended the peaceful #ENDSARS protest at Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, says he has become an amputee after the gunshot injuries he sustained to the leg on Tuesday, October 20, 2020.

He had undergone surgical amputation of his bullet-ridden right leg.

The shooting incident had attracted national and international outcry, with the Lagos State and Federal governments being urged to unravel the identity of the shooters and who deployed them.

Speaking exclusively with PUNCH Newspaper a few days after he was discharged from the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos, Olalekan said until the Lekki shooting, he had temporarily worked as a labourer with a construction company in Ikoyi to raise money for his ‘freedom’ as an apprentice cobbler.

He also planned to use whatever was left after his freedom ceremony to rent a shop where he could carry out his cobbler trade.

“Any time we had little or nothing to do at the construction site, I would join the #ENDSARS protesters at Lekki Toll Gate to demonstrate against Police brutality and bad governance.

“I recalled attending the protest on three different occasions (October 15, 16 and 17) before the soldiers’ invasion on October 20,” he said.

Struck By Soldiers’ Bullet

Looking pale and sad, he struggled to recollect the incident of the Black Tuesday, saying the whole episode still feels like a bad dream.

“They (soldiers) arrived in a group and, without warning, started shooting at us. As people ran helter-skelter, I recalled hearing the protest coordinators screaming, ‘Don’t panic, sit on the floor together and keep waving the Nigerian flag.’

“But it was too late. People panicked when they saw the soldiers advancing and shooting at us.

“In the panic that ensued, I was hit on the right leg by a stray bullet. The force of the shot was so intense that I found myself on the ground, writhing in pain and with so much blood gushing out of my leg.

“I was there for some seconds, feeling weak and fatigued before some fellow protesters came to my rescue. I was held by both hands and legs as they continued running while also dodging the flying bullets,” he said.

Olalekan disclosed that after his bullet-riddled leg was tied up with what looked like a shirt, he was rushed along with three other victims of the shooting to Vedic Hospital in Lekki.

“At Vedic, I was denied admission when the medical official saw the state of my bloodied leg,” he alleged.

The 23-year-old said he kept getting weaker as he was being conveyed by the rescue team in search of another hospital.

“That was how I ended up at Grandville Trauma Centre. After examining the leg, one of the doctors who attended to me announced that my limb was in a sorry state because the high-velocity projectile forcefully pierced through the muscles and blood vessels in my leg from one end before coming out at the other end.

“Consequently, I was asked to drop the contact of my parent or guardian because of the complex nature of my case,” he said.

Olalekan’s Diagnosis At Grandville

Olalekan’s medical statement, which was written on Grandville’s letterhead and secured by our correspondent, states, “To whom it may concern, OLALEKAN FALEYE MALE/23 years. The above-named patient presented to our facility four days ago (20/10/2020) around 23.28 pm due to a gunshot injury to his (R) leg in about 2 hours after the incident.

“He sustained this injury as a result of his involvement in the #ENDSARS protest that occurred at the Lekki toll gate.

“He was initially taken to Vedic Hospital and then brought in here for further management.

“On presentation, GCS 15/15 O2 Sat; 98% pain and severe bleeding from the gunshot site with a point of entry and exit of the bullet. He was unable to lift his leg and move his toes.

“Diagnosis made was (i) leg injury from gunshot (ii) imminent compartment syndrome.”

The medical paper which was signed by a certain Dr. Adebayo and countersigned by Dr. Umukoro further reads, “An exploratory fasciotomy was done on the right lower limb to litigate severed blood vessels. Five units of packed RBCs were transfused over the course of admission as the patient came in with Hb of 5.6g/cll. No pulse (dorsal pedis, tibia post and ant. Arteries) was felt.

“Patient was placed on antibiotics (IV Rocephin, IV Flagyl, treated for malaria (Im arthemeter 160mg) and analgesics.

“Patients relatives have been counselled on the need for an amputation of the patient’s leg but they would need a second opinion. For further clarifications and enquiries, kindly call the hospital.”

Experts say a fasciotomy or fasciectomy is a surgical limb-saving procedure when used to treat acute compartment syndrome.

At Igbobi Hospital

After four days of admission at Grandville Trauma Centre, the patient was given a referral letter to a federal teaching hospital in Lagos for intensive treatment.

“My admission request at the teaching hospital was rejected by the management over inadequate bed space. They, however, recommended a private amenity ward within the same facility.

“When we got there, the officials said I could only be admitted if my people made a down payment of N50,000. Consequently, my mother had to secure an ambulance that took me down to the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos,” he said.

“Before then, I recalled hearing the doctor at Grandville saying that my leg might likely be operated. That was the same comment I received again on the day the ambulance brought me to Igbobi. My mother screamed ‘God forbid!’

“I was completely dejected. I kept looking at the affected leg, wondering if that would be the last time I would see it. However, I braced up myself and signed the consent form against the will of my mother. It was like a death sentence and I feel it would forever remain the worst decision of my life,” he added.

PUNCH HealthWise visited NOHIL on Wednesday, and requested to speak with the medical director of the hospital, Dr. Mustapha Alimi; but he was said to have travelled out of Lagos for a conference.

Further attempt to see the facility spokesperson, Mrs Ayo Adenike, also proved futile as she was also not available.

However, one of the consultant surgeons on duty agreed to speak with our correspondent on condition of anonymity.

Olalekan’s Mother Breaks Down In Tears

Back home at her one-room apartment in Alimosho Local Government of Lagos when PUNCH HealthWise visited, Olalekan’s mother, Mrs. Temitayo Faleye, struggled to put up a smile and gently roused her son from sleep.

A popular noodle seller in the community, Mrs. Faleye told our correspondent that she sensed something was wrong with her son on the night he was shot.

“I was feeling uncomfortable throughout the night. At a point, I had to rouse myself from sleep to pray against perceived evil or demonic attack. It was shortly after the supplication that I received a call that Lekan had been shot at the toll gate and hospitalised somewhere in Lekki.

“At first, I feared he had probably died and that people were not willing to tell me. I headed to the health facility around midnight just to be sure he was still alive. That was the first time I would be in Lekki in my entire life,” she said.

N206,000 Medical Bill At Igbobi

The woman said she almost fainted when she was presented with a bill of N 206,000 at Igbobi.

She protested that her son was a survivor of the #ENDSARS protest and shouldn’t have to pay for his treatment.

“The medical team didn’t believe me and wanted to know why he didn’t present early at the facility that fateful night or the day after. It wasn’t until they saw the Grandville’s medical record that they agreed to reduce the bill. That was in addition to some injectable and pints of blood donation that we secured.

She said the crutches currently being used by her son was donated by some sympathetic workers at Igbobi.

My Son Now Miserable, Temperamental

When asked how she was coping with the challenges of having to bathe, feed and cater for her son all over again, Mrs. Faleye broke into tears.

“This trial is too much for me, considering the fact that his father has been down with stroke for seven years.

“Sometimes, I spend as much as N15,000 on transport fare to convey him [her husband] from Alimosho to Igbobi or Island General Hospital for a check-up and back again.

“Worse still, my son has never remained the same ever since he lost his right limb. Olalekan has become miserable and temperamental. He won’t talk to anybody and prefers staying indoor.

“Imagine somebody who used to love running around, playing football and attending to his shoe cobbling business now confined in one place. Of course, I understand his frustration. He is no longer a happy man,” she said.

She lamented that the October 20 tragedy could, perhaps, have been averted if she had worked harder to raise enough money to pay for her son’s ‘freedom’ and secure a shop for him.

She said the 23-year-old was adept at making shoes, belts, bags and leather sandals and had dreamt of starting his own shoemaking company someday.

“All those dreams are gone. Now, he finds it difficult to adjust to his new life. He felt sorry for everything that had happened. Sometimes, he would look at me, shake his head and say he is sorry for everything.”

 

Credit: PUNCH

BIG STORY

Arewa Community In Lagos Launches Tinubu Support Group

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Arewa community in Lagos State has urged All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to run for president in 2023.

At a rally in Coker-Aguda and Itire-Ikate Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) of Lagos State to launch a Tinubu support group, the Arewa people said Tinubu possessed the quality needed to continue President Muhammadu Buhari’s developmental projects.

Their leader, Ahmed Abdullahi, noted that the former Lagos State governor had paid his dues in the political terrain; hence he deserved to lead the country.

He said Asiwaju Tinubu remained the most competent person to take over from President Buhari.

“We saw how he transformed Lagos State and made it a place for all to earn a living. He did not discriminate against any tribe by making Lagos home for all of us. We are telling the world; especially the people in the North that Asiwaju (Tinubu) can be trusted. We saw how he stood by President Buhari even when people were against him. This is the time for the North to return good for good because we are not known for betraying people,” he said.

Abdullahi said Coker-Aguda LCDA was picked for the launch because the council chairman is also a detribalized woman.

“She has made Coker-Aguda a home to all Nigerians by appointing non-Yoruba as special advisers,” he said.

Coker-Aguda LCDA Chairman Mrs Omobolanle Akinyemi-Obe thanked the Arewa community for launching a support group for Tinubu.

She said all ethnic groups in the council are routing for Tinubu to run for the president.

“We have confidence in Asiwaju Tinubu to lead our country to greater height and bring smiles to the faces of Nigerians,” she said.

Her counterpart in Itire-Ikate LCDA, Dr. Ahmed Apatira, described Asiwaju Tinubu as the best man to take over from President Buhari.

He said all tribes in the council are ready to support Asiwaju Tinubu.

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BIG STORY

South-East Governors Establish ‘Ebube Agu’, Regional Security Outfit, To Rout Criminals

Peter Okunoren

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South-east governors yesterday rolled out a raft of policy decisions, including the establishment of a regional security outfit, ‘Ebube Agu,’ to combat the security challenges facing the zone.

The outfit, with headquarters at Enugu, will complement the efforts of federal security agencies in tackling the security challenges in the region.

The governors, in a communiqué issued in Owerri at the end of a meeting, asked the heads of security agencies in the zone to draw up a comprehensive list of their logistics and material needs that will enhance their efficiency in combating the security challenges in the zone, so that the governors could provide them.

The meeting was the first gathering of the governors since last week’s attacks by gunmen who invaded the headquarters of the state police command, torching about 100 vehicles and freeing some detainees.

The gunmen also attacked the Imo State Correctional Centre and released over 1,800 inmates.

In the communiqué read by the Chairman of the South-east Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Mr. Dave Umahi, the governors aligned themselves with the efforts of the federal government to find the solution to the security challenges in the country.

They condemned what they called terrorism and banditry in any part of Nigeria, particularly in the South-east.

They condemned the recent burning of police stations, violent attacks on custodial centers with the unlawful release of inmates, and the killing of security personnel, natives/farmers, and herdsmen.

The governors said they were on the same page with the federal government on the need to tackle the security challenges in the country.

They committed themselves to join the federal government to fight terrorists and bandits.

They also “resolved to bring together all the arsenals at their command, as one united zone, to fight and flush out criminals and terrorists from the zone.”

The communiqué noted that to achieve this, “there is a need to galvanize all the relevant stakeholders in the South-east, the political class, the business community, the bureaucrats and the intelligentsia to provide all necessary support to security operatives in the five South-east states to ensure total success in the fight against criminality in the zone.”

According to the communiqué, “The heads of all the security agencies in the South-east have resolved to exchange intelligence in a seamless, effective new order that will help to checkmate crime in the zone.

“To fast-track crime-busting in the South-east, the heads of security agencies have been mandated to draw up a comprehensive list of their logistics and material needs for sustainable success in the fight against criminality, for the immediate provision by the leadership of the South-east.”

The governors also resolved to set up a committee comprising security personnel, government officials and stakeholders, to coordinate and monitor the implementation of the Southeast joint security platform.

The governors applauded the initiative of the South-east security summit and to make it a statutory summit that would convene every quarter while its hosting shall rotate among the five South-east states.

“The meeting resolved to maintain a joint security vigilante for the South-east otherwise known as Ebube Agu. The meeting appreciated the formation of South-east joint security outfit code-named Ebube Agu, with headquarters in Enugu to coordinate our vigilante in the South-east,” the communiqué explained.

The governors also requested the Acting Inspector-General of Police (IG), Mr. Usman Baba, to stop the influx of IG monitoring units and allow police commissioners and state and zonal commands to handle their cases.

The governors also requested Baba and other security chiefs to invite the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to find out the reason for the increasing insecurity of the region.

They also agreed that military policing in the South-east should be adequately funded to become effective.

“Meeting agreed that open grazing has been banned and the security agency should implement the ban.

“The meeting encouraged a peaceful co-existence of farmers and herders to allow governors to succeed in the fight against criminality,” the communiqué added.

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BIG STORY

774,000 Public Jobs Workers Protest Unpaid N20,000 Wage, Beneficiaries Tackle Keyamo

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Participants in the Federal Government’s Special Public Works (SPW) programme are protesting the delay in paying their stipend more than three months after kick-off.

The SPW is an Adhoc programme designed by the government to provide stop-gap three months jobs to mainly artisans to earn N20,000 monthly doing public works.

One thousand youths were hired from each of the 774 local government in the country as beneficiaries, bringing the figure to 774,000 councils.

The programme was inaugurated on January 5. The first batch of beneficiaries have completed their assignment without being paid.

President Muhammadu Buhari on March 20 directed the release of funds to pay the stipends.

Minister of Labour and Employment Festus Keyamo (SAN) hours after, directed the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), the Federal Government agency driving the programme, to start processing the payment plan.

Keyamo, in his official Tweeter handle, (@fkeyamo, assured the participants that they would soon receive alerts of payment.

Twenty-two days after, no payment has been made.

Some of the participants at the weekend took to Keyamo’s Twitter handle to ventilate their frustration.

One of them described the Federal Government as “heartless” for failing to pay them their stipend.

One Dubagari Jnr, tweeted: “What is happening with the SPW? Up till now, we have not been paid and have successfully finished our work. Please Hon. minister we need explanations on why we have not been paid and you have to start the disbursement before fasting (Ramadan).

Another worker, Maikudi Kolo, asked through a tweet: “Una no go pay 774, 000 workers?”

Abdoul Baqee tweeted: “People are hungry regarding the payment of stipends. Please fast track the payment of these people. 774, 000 people waiting anxiously for their payment with hunger and they don’t even have a phone to come to your timeline. When you get hungry just remember those people that work with hunger without their entitlement.”

Yusuf Mohammed Olawuyi asked: “Mr. Honourable minister, what happened to our SPW stipends? You already published that we will start receiving the alert from the beginning of April.”

When contacted, Keyamo directed our correspondent to NDE acting Director-General Abubakar Fikpo.

Fikpo said: “We are still in the process; we have identified some loopholes here and there. We want to verify the BVN of the participants. That is why we are working with the banks.

“We are verifying the BVN of those participants in order to avoid double payments to several people or to three or more accounts.”

About SPW Programme

The Special Public Works Programme is a dry season/off-season transient job for rehabilitation/maintenance of social infrastructure.

The Programme is designed to employ 1,000 persons each from the 774 Local Government Areas.

It is being implemented by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.

N52billion was voted for the programme, part of it to pay participants at N20,000 monthly for three months.

The programme was expected to commence on October 1, 2020, but suffered a setback because of internal wranglings between Keyamo and a former Director-General of the NDE, Nasir Ladan. President Muhammadu Buhari fired Ladan.

There was also a big row between the National Assembly and Keyamo over the allocation of slots to hire beneficiaries.

N26 billion was released for the procurement of equipment and for logistics before the programme eventually commenced on January 5.

Keyamo, during the inauguration of the programme, said it will address poverty and hunger.

The minister said the programme was conceived following the success of the pilot scheme in eight states to gauge its impact in addressing the ballooning population of the unemployed and rising insecurity.

Keyamo noted that countries like India and Malaysia used similar programmes to fight poverty.

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