Murder In Sanwo-Olu’s Hospital (1)

By Tunde Odesola

Beauty and brain don’t come in a better embodiment. Tall, slim and vivacious, Diaso Vwaere was an awesome medic, fresh from medical school. She ordered food from a restaurant nearby to quench her hunger though hunger was the least in her list of worries. As a physician forged in the crucible of Nigeria’s inefficiency, the horrible state of the Lagos State General Hospital, Odan, topped her worries.

This high-rise Lagos State General Hospital located on Lagos Island was a rude awakening from the world of well-equipped, spick and span hospitals she had read in textbooks at the medical school. Now, in the dawn of reality, two weeks to the completion of her housemanship, Diaso sadly admitted to herself she had been working in an abattoir, and not a hospital. She sighed as she wondered how she had survived the attempt by the state government to turn her and other medical staff working in the facility into butchers.

“In two weeks, I’ll leave this junkyard for a proper hospital,” Diaso thought to herself as hunger twang the strings in her stomach and she made for the lift en route to the ground floor to meet the dispatch rider who brought her food.

Diaso stepped into the lift on the ninth floor, hit the ‘Ground’ button, and watched the two opposite metal doors crawl out from the walls noisily, clicking together in a kiss of death.

Tuesday, August 1, 2023, was a day luck departed the lift, having got tired of being pushed too far, and Diaso, with all her promise, prowess and potential, plunged to a painful death on an empty stomach, crushed like an animal in a trap.

Her colleague, who wrote via the Twitter handle, @LaseMoye, shed some light on what Diaso was subjected to by her employer, the Lagos State Government. She wrote, “I was literally standing in front of the elevator and (had) pressed the open button so I could step in, I was on a video call with my friend and it’s the singular reason I hadn’t entered just yet when I heard the Big Crash…, elevator crashed from the 9th floor all the way to even below the ground floor, glass shattering, bricks clashing, sand trickling down…”

The lucky medical doctor said the dispatch rider bearing Diaso’s food ran out of the building because of the deafening noise of the crash.

She continued, “It was then I realised what just happened. I froze, then I heard Mr Charles shouting ‘hope nobody is inside’. I said if someone is there, the person is gone, not knowing she was there. Then Quadri ran down and shouted Vwaere is there. We started running out to get help. They tried to use rods to open it, to be sure it wasn’t a joke, they finally opened it, the sight was gruesome.

“Muffled sounds of excruciating pain and agony became apparent. Her forehead had a horizontal cut, her mouth had another one, raccoon eyes, no! She was lying in between the base of the elevator and the ground floor with the engine hanging over her head, which meant any miscalculation in movement, she’d be crushed to instant death…It was not a sight to describe. She’s a tall person, so imagine the crush. God!

“Called on professional engineers to come and dismantle it. It took almost 40 minutes for them to get there. Initially, they sent representatives to dismantle it and those guys came dressed in suits. Suits? They were at VI, (which is) literally 15 minutes from from Marina. What took them so long?

“I remember telling her to relax and that help is coming. She said, “Don’t tell me to relax, tell them to get me out of here.” We eventually got her out and she kept saying she thinks she’ll die. Emergency care was almost zero inside a freaking hospital for that matter. There was no blood in the hospital. We were taught to give blood for blood loss in med school but no blood (is) available for Vwaere; it’s all theory and the books in Nigeria. She was stuck in the elevator for one freaking hour. Eventually wheeled out but she was already weak and she kept saying ‘I don’t want to die’. They commenced CPR and the finality of it all happened.”

Not done yet, the female colleague of Diaso recalled that the lift was initially taking a maximum of eight persons before the number was trimmed down to two, owing to its deplorable state, adding that times without number, it stopped between floors, forcing people to trek the stairs.

Diaso’s death wasn’t an accident. It was plain murder. She was killed by her very employers, the Lagos State Government. An accident, the Cambridge Dictionary reveals, is an unexpected and unintentional incident resulting in damage or injury. The death of Diaso was anything but unexpected and unintentional.

Matter-of-factly, staff and members of the public familiar with the rotten services provided by the hospital were unanimous in their submission: the lift had given more than enough fault notices over the years, but the hospital refused to act and save the impending calamity.

The father of the deceased doctor, Kennedy, rightly said the hospital intentionally killed his daughter. He bemoaned, “They killed my daughter. I don’t want to believe that they were negligent. It was a deliberate attempt to kill her. I cannot fathom how somebody who lost so much amount of blood and (they) cannot administer blood to her. With the amount of blood that she lost, that was up to one bucket on the floor; and they will say she did not need blood. We will see whether they will not be charged with murder.”

Of all homicide offences, first-degree murder is the most heinous because it involves intention, willingness, premeditation, and a dose of malice. Second-degree murder involves malice but is devoid of premeditation while third-degree murder has neither intent nor premeditation.

The General Hospital, by ignoring the plethora of warnings from staff and non-staff to repair the lift, intentionally, willfully and premeditatively killed Diaso, throwing her family into everlasting sorrow.

Tí a bá perí ajá, a ó pe orí ìkòkò tí a fi sèé: You cannot reckon with dog meat delicacy without reckoning with the pot that cooked it. As the owner of the General Hospital, Odan, the Lagos State Government is vicariously liable for the actions and inactions of the hospital’s authorities. It’s in this same token that the wife of the President, Mrs Remi Tinubu, felicitated the victorious female national basketball team, D’Tigress, for conquering Africa, and the female national soccer team, Super Falcons, for shining at the ongoing World Cup. Sanwo-Olu cannot identify with only good incidents and leave out the bad ones.

If Diaso had died in a road accident or even at the hands of kidnappers, the pain of her death in such a circumstance wouldn’t have been as horrifying as her dying in the very place where lives are supposed to be saved.

Back to @LaseMoye, may the Lord bless her, may the Lord bless our country with such more courageous citizens. May I sound her a note of warning, the powers and principalities she exposed aren’t smiling. They will reach out to her to pull down her posts. If she refuses, she should look out for subtle threats and intimidation.

If she notices a scintilla of threat, she should not hesitate to escalate it to the most widely read newspaper in the country, PUNCH.

The exemplary friend of Diaso said the lift had been faulty for the last six years, revealing that at a time, for the lift to work, passengers needed to stand away from the door.

@LaseMoye further said, “There was enough time to fix the damn elevator! We had been complaining about basic amenities in those quarters. No light, no water, fix the damn elevator! They’ll say we should write a letter, we write a letter, they tell us it’s not HSC but it’s medical guild, the medical guild will say it’s Alausa, Alausa will say it’s not on them! Back and forth for years, six good years!!! Will you say she died? It’s MURDER! She was murdered, she has two weeks to finish HJ.”

* To be continued


Written by Tunde Odesola and first published in The PUNCH, on Friday, August 11, 2023)
Facebook: @Tunde Odesola
Twitter: @Tunde_Odesola

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