According to journalist and media strategist Femi Owolabi, a 26 year old
barber in Lagos, named Zuri died mysteriously after stepping out to
sneeze, but from sneezing the young man began vomiting blood.
Zuri was rushed to a private
hospital but the doctor’s attitude was very shocking. Even the attitude
of Lagos Emergency Ambulance operators left much to be desired.
I just returned to Lagos, and in my usual routine, I retire to a local
bar where the discourse around local and national politics is being fueled by AlomoBittters, OrijinBitters and every other thing that
carries the ‘bitter’ suffix.
Zuri, 26, one of those boys who migrated from the village to seek
greener pastures in Lagos, runs the saloon beside the bar. When in
Lagos, Zuri barbed me. I couldn’t wait to return from the northeast for
Zuri to attend to my bushy hair. He barbed almost perfectly.
Yesterday, since I’m on a self-imposed ‘leave’ in Lagos, we had resumed
at the bar early where a friend was hosting me to a bottle of
AlomoBittters. Zuri sat with us, he sat beside me, and we were telling
him on how to improve on the business and not spend all his earnings on
women and drinks. We were all together for hours before he left to see a
barber friend of his.
Barely two hours later, one of Zuri’s friends in the neighborhood
rushed in. His face was soaked with tears, and he was screaming, ‘Zuri!
Zuri!!’ I gulped down the content in my mouth. ‘What’s wrong with
Zuri?!’ we collectively asked the friend. ‘He is vomiting blood… he
In no time, we arrived at the scene, some 6km away. I met a circle of
crowd around my barber. Blood in his nose, eyes, mouth, and ears. And he
looked lifeless. I shut my eyes. I opened them. I shut my eyes again.
And I opened them again. Because of the too much blood, perhaps, the
crowd feared touching him. I moved closer and held his hand, and checked
the inside of his wrist to feel his pulse.
‘Where is the nearest hospital?’ I asked his barber friend whom he had
come to see. The friend was already running mad. ‘Ha! I’ve never seen
this kind of thing,’ he cried. ‘He barbed me here in my shop, and he
just stepped out to sneeze and that was how blood started coming out of
his mouth and nose.’
The nearest hospital was about 4km away. Unfortunately, no one was
willing to give us a car to move him. We settled for a wheelbarrow one
Mai-Ruwa offered and we sped off to the hospital. While we pushed him, I
continually called out his name, checking his chest if he was still
|the unfortunate Zuri, lying lifeless in the wheelbarrow|
‘He’s gone,’ the doctor announced. We weren’t even allowed to move him
inside. The doctor came out with his stethoscope to check him.
It’s a private hospital and after a while, the doctor became so
uncomfortable and he called on me to come take his corpse away. That he
wasn’t their patient. I got so confused, not knowing what next to do.
I had earlier called the Lagos Emergency line. They arrived to meet him
dead. ‘We don’t pick dead bodies,’ I was told. ‘So what do we do?’ I
asked. ‘Call the Emergency line again, there are ambulances that would
come pick him.’
I called, gave my details and the address of the place we were. ‘We are
coming,’ I was told. After about an hour, I called again. ‘We are
coming,’. I was told.
The doctor was getting angry. He called on me. ‘Take this corpse away!’
he boomed. I begged him for more time. Since the Lagos Emergency guys
ain’t forthcoming, I asked where we could hire an ambulance. I didn’t
get any suggestion.
The friend, eventually, got in touch with Zuri’s family. And we were
told to bring his corpse to their village, somewhere in Ogun State.
I, with some other guys, rushed down to the nearest police station to
get a police report. We were gonna be delayed and extorted, but I had to
use my connection with the top police guys.
Dark already. No ambulance. And we just had to use a Danfo to move Zuri to his village.
‘He is the first child of his mother, and anytime he goes visiting the
mother in the village, he buys beverages and all for her,’ Zuri’s neighbor told me.
Since yesterday, I am yet to fully understand what led to the death of a
young man who sat beside me few hours before the announcement of his