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Saturday, January 25, 2014

TRAGIC: Electricity Wire Burns Father And Friend?

•Victim loses two legs after surgical operations •Friend’s fate hangs in the balance
“Iam in pains, please help me. Don’t let me die, please save me.” This was the agonizing cry of Afeez Kareem, one of the victims of a live electricity wire incident that occurred along Igando/ Ikotun road in Alimosho Local
Government Area of Lagos State recently.
Afeez, a mechanic, was driving in the company of his friend, Prince Onyekachi, when a live electricity wire fell on their vehicle. In the course of trying to escape from the impending danger, they stepped on the live wire and were severely burnt. Afeez was burnt from the navel down to his two legs, while Prince’s right leg and his manhood were affected in the accident.
34-year old Prince is also a mechanic. He went to visit Afeez in his workshop when the incident occurred.
The two friends were immediately rushed to Igando General Hospital, from where they were referred to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) Ikeja. Seeing their condition, the doctors quickly moved them to Gbagada General Hospital for intensive care.
Afeez has had the affected two legs cut off after undergoing two successive operations.
Unfortunately, despite the amputation, his plight has not abated. He is billed to undergo another round of surgical operations. On the other hand, Prince’s fate is still hanging in the balance. The affected leg and the manhood
are presently wrapped in bandage and plasters, waiting for final decisions by the doctors.
Lying on his hospital bed, Afeez gave details of how the incident occurred. “I was driving out with my friend who came to visit me when the incident happened. It occurred in the afternoon along Church bus stop on Igando/Ikotun road, not far from our workshop.
Rain was falling seriously on that day. “As we were going, I wanted to make a Uturn when the live wire fell and dropped on our vehicle. We quickly tried to escape from the car, but unfortunately, I stepped on the
live wire and it began to burn my body from the leg up to my navel. It was a man opposite the scene of the incident that called PHCN office to switch off power supply in the area. It was after that was done that people were able to come to our rescue. We were immediately rushed to Igando General Hospital. They referred us to Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) Ikeja almost immediately. When we got to LASUTH, arrangement was made to bring us down to this place.
“As I am talking to you now, I am in deep pains, my lap and buttock is full of wounds. I cannot sleep nor turn my body. I have been lying in one position. I am fed while lying down. I have gone through two operations already. But they said I would still have to go through another set of operations. My pain is aggravated by the fact that my family members have nowhere to raise money to foot the bills anymore. They have sold everything we have and have borrowed money everywhere to pay part of the existing bills. I don’t even know how my children are faring right now.
“I want to appeal to Nigerians to come to my aid. The operation ought to have been done, but there is no money anywhere to pay for it. My fears are that the situation may be getting worse every day if the operation is not done on time. Already, I have incurred a bill of about N300,000 since I was admitted here. I need urgent help to come out of these excruciating pains. Nigerians, please save me. Help me to come out of these pains.”
The sister, Mrs. Odunayo Adelaja said the family has so far spent over a million naira on his treatment and it appears they have just started.
“We have spent N1million so far on his treatment. We have sold some valuables that we have and have borrowed money from everywhere possible, yet it appears as if we have not done anything. One of the medical personnel cleaning him up told me that the bones around his buttock were coming to the open. She advised that we have to do all we can to get money as soon as possible for the operations to be carried out so that the problem does not assume a worse dimension.
“I agree with her, but where would I get the money? Our parents are old and have nowhere to raise money. The onus of taking care of him has been on us (the siblings). We have spent all we have and have seriously become indebted to many people. Before I left home this morning, some of the people that lent us money came to ask for their money. I have almost become a fugitive because the embarrassment is too much,” she said.
Prince, a chronic stammerer was unable to speak. His father, Mr. Innocent Onyekachi, looked extremely ruffled when our reporters met him. The 66-year old father said Prince’s plight has brought untold sorrow to his life.
“My son’s condition has brought a lot of sorrow to my life. His fate is still hanging in the balance. Some of the doctors said there is no need to cut the leg, while others said it should be cut. The last statement was that the leg would be cut. We have paid for it and waiting for them to cut it. He was making use of pipe to urinate before now because the incident affected his manhood. They have removed the pipe and he could use wheel chair to go and urinate now.
“We have spent close to a million naira on his treatment so far. We have a bill of over N200, 000 in the hospital that we have not paid. I have borrowed money everywhere and do not even know the next place to go and borrow money. Many people are even reluctant to borrow me money because they believe I don’t have the capability of repaying it. I am a just a local dry cleaner. I go from house to house to wash cloth for people, so you can imagine what could be my income. I don’t have any money. Apart from borrowing, friends and church members have also been assisting me. I want to appeal to kind-hearted Nigerians and government in particular to come and help us,” he pleaded.
One of Afeez’s colleagues in the workshop, Mr. Sunday Afolabi, said the landlord association in the area has also gone around to beg for money to assist him.
He said: “ What happened to Afeez and his friend was pathetic. It is by the grace of God that he is still alive today. We were together on that fateful day when the incident occurred. I was where I went to eat when some of our colleagues came to inform me that Afeez was being electrocuted. When I got to the place, I saw him and his friend held on a spot beside the car and helplessly being burnt by the live wire. Nobody could go close
to them that very moment. We all stood afar and watched the whole thing happen. It was like a dream to me. We were able to rescue them when PHCN cut power supply.
“We, his colleagues have been contributing money among ourselves from time to time to assist him. Even the landlord association in the area has gone around seeking financial help for him and his friend.
In spite of all these efforts, solution is not yet in sight. The bills are not what the family can foot alone. The family urgently needs assistance from both the government and kind hearted Nigerians to deliver these guys from this problem.” Mr. John Oga, a resident of the area, blamed PHCN for the victims’ plight. He said: “The PHCN is largely responsible for this calamity that befell Afeez and his friend.
This disaster would not have occurred if they have been maintaining the facilities very well. It is every unfortunatethat they never bothered to support the family financially after the incident that was caused by their facility. The only thing they did was to come and fix the wire. The Federal Government should come in here and assist the family because it was their agency that caused this problem for the victims.
“The incident has dashed their promising future because there is no possibility that they can engage in any meaning venture to make both ends meet even after they would have been discharged from the hospital.
They should be adequately taken care of and compensated. All the money that the families have spent should be refunded by the government.
The company that bought PHCN should also do something because they bought the liability of the company along with the assets. If possible, they should be flown abroad for better medical attention. Efforts should be made by the new companies that bought the PHCN to put all the facilities and wires in good shape to avert a reoccurrence of this kind of distasteful incident. ”
Efforts to speak with the hospital management was unsuccessful, as health workers were said to be observing the three –day warning strike by the workers nationwide.
An official of the new power management who did not want his name in print said the incident occurred before they took over and could not be held responsible for it.
Source: The Nation