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Two New Lagoon Suicides Averted In Lagos, Now Offence To Walk, Park Near Bridges

Kunle AKINRINADE 

Two fresh lagoon suicides averted in Lagos

 

•Police, fishermen rescue textile merchant duped N18.7m, another woman •It’s now an offence to walk or park cars on bridges-Lagos CP

Less than one week after a medical doctor, Allwell Orji, jumped into the lagoon in Lagos, operatives of the Lagos State Police Command and some fishermen yesterday averted two fresh lagoon suicide cases.

A woman, Abigael Ogunyinka, was rescued by fishermen in the early hours of yesterday in Lagos Lagoon, while another woman, Taiwo Titilayo Momoh, who also attempted to jump into the lagoon from the Third Mainland Bridge at about 11:25 am, was prevented from doing so by operatives of the Rapid Response Squad of the Lagos State Police Command.

According to the spokesman of Lagos State Police Command,  Olarinde Famous-Cole, Ogunyinka had attempted to jump into the lagoon at Ebute Ero before she was intercepted by vigilant fishermen.

‘’She explained that she was unable to repay a loan of N150,000 which she took from a microfinance bank and that the bank had been mounting serious pressure on her to defray the money, hence, she decided to take her own life by jumping into the lagoon.

‘’However, given the sensitive nature of the case, we shall investigate her statement and the alleged microfinance bank in order to establish the veracity of her comment.

On her part, Momoh, a 58-year-old textiles dealer on Lagos Island, had put off her shoes and was wrapping her dress around her body when men of RRS 226 intervened in the nick of time and prevented her from jumping into the water.

The woman, who lives in the Lekki area of Lagos, explained that she was pushed to committing suicide in order to put an end to her sleeplessness and shame caused by her indebtedness to three Swiss textile dealers.

She said that her problem started in 2015 when a forex dealer carted away the N18.7 million she wanted to change to pay her foreign creditors.

Her condition, she said, became compounded when robbers invaded her shop on Lagos Island and carted away her goods.

She disclosed that she was haunted at nights by the ‘ghosts’ of  her creditors whenever she was alone.

Momoh, a member of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, expressed her frustration after she had made fruitless effort to share her plight with the pastor of her parish.

She noted that she was only allowed to see the pastor’s assistant.

She said: “Added to all this, my first son, who I thought would stand by me and console me, abandoned me. By the time I’m gone, maybe he would come around and inherit what is left.

‘’I don’t want to use my debt and death to disturb anybody. I was in the shop this morning. I have looked everywhere and estimated what is there.

‘’I think with my house, a bungalow, those I am leaving behind can still live comfortably. I want to go and meet God. This world is empty. I won’t because I want to get rich join a cult. I go my way and I don’t socialise unnecessarily.”

She added: “I was a Muslim. I have because of this problem been jumping from one faith to the other. The problem is too much for me to bear. I want to go back to God.

‘’That is why I have dressed very simply. I am ready to meet Him. If He cannot address my problem on earth, let me go back to Him.”

Speaking with newsmen at the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) headquarters in Alausa, Ikeja, Commissioner of Police, Mr Fatai Owoseni, explained that Momoh was in a taxi heading towards Oworonshoki on Third Mainland Bridge when she told the taxi driver to stop on the bridge.

The woman, according to Owoseni, was about to jump into the water when a police team on a routine patrol on the Third Mainland Bridge sighted her and promptly saved her before she jumped into the lagoon.

“She attempted suicide by attempting to jump into the lagoon around Oworonshoki inward Mainland on Third Mainland Bridge. Unfortunately for her, she was rescued.

“The woman was in a taxi and alighted on the bridge and wanted to commit suicide by jumping into the lagoon.

“The police patrol team sighted her and rushed to rescue her before she jumped into the Lagoon,” he said.

Owoseni said his interactions with the woman revealed that she had depression as a result of unpaid loans, adding that “she is still insisting that she wants to end her life.”

He explained that committing suicide is an offence under the law but that the police would try to talk the woman out of committing suicide.

He said the police would do a medical evaluation on the woman to ascertain her condition.

He explained that the woman would be taken through post-trauma programme to restore her hope and prevent her from committing suicide.

Owoseni lamented the rate at which people commit suicide in the country, describing it as worrisome.

He disclosed that the police had begun patrol of bridges across the state to forestall other cases of suicide.

He also said it has become an offence for individuals to walk on bridges in the state and that no vehicle would be allowed to stop on any bridge in the state henceforth in order to prevent suicide incidents.

“Right now, the woman is still in trauma and she still insists that she wants to end her life,” he said.

The distraught woman, however, warned journalists from taking her photograph as she was being escorted from the RRS office into a waiting police vehicle, saying “I am not a criminal.”

Orji, a medical doctor attached to Papa Ajao branch of Mount Sinai Hospital, Lagos, jumped into the Lagos lagoon on the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos on Sunday in circumstances that remain puzzling.

He reportedly ordered his driver to stop at a point on the bridge after receiving a call on his cell phone and proceeded to take the bizarre action.

His body was found after three days of frantic search by a combined team of the Marine Police and officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA).             (The Nation)

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