A 48-year-old widow living in Lagos, Tope Oshodi, tells TEMITOPE ADETUNJI life has been unbearable for her since her 30-year-old son, Ridwan, was critically injured after being shot by policemen amid the 2020 #EndSARS crisis.
My name is Temitope Oshodi, mother to Ridwan Oshodi, who was shot during the #ENDSARS protest in 2020. I am 48 years old.
He was 27 years when the incident happened; he will be 30 years this year. He is the first of my three children. He was a fashion designer at Yaba, Lagos.
On October 20, 2020, he was at work when I called him to come back home because I heard that there was a crisis at Lekki. We stay in Ojuelegba Area C Barracks. When I called him, he said he was very busy working on customers’ cloths. He said he had a job that he needed to finish and deliver, as the customer needed it urgently. He told me that if he was able to finish the work early enough, he would come home but if not, he would sleep over at the shop. Later at night, he called me to say that he couldn’t finish the work and he would therefore sleep over in his shop. He said he would come home the following morning.
In the morning of the following day, after Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos declared a curfew, he told me that he was done with the job and he was on his way home. Just some seconds after we spoke on phone, I heard gunshots around Ojuelegba bridge. I started to try to call him, to tell him to watch his steps. Then we heard cries and shouts that Ridwan had been shot by policemen. We rushed out to rescue him. We took him to Havana Hospital nearby where he was given first aid treatment. He was shot on the stomach. The doctor said the bullet had come out of his back and that his backbone was affected. He said the case was more serious than he could handle at the hospital and referred us to LUTH (Lagos University Teaching Hospital).
We were in LUTH for about four to five months. They did two surgeries for him. I spent N500,000 on his treatment before pleading with the doctors to discharge him because I had spent all I had and I could no longer afford the medical bills. I had borrowed heavily to buy drugs, pay for X-rays and physiotherapy. It was after we got back home that some people came from PUNCH newspapers came to interview me, my children and neighbours. They did a video and government officials called us from Alausa to come for the support. We were asked to submit some documents (medical reports and evidence of bills paid). Six months after submitting the documents, they told us they couldn’t find the documents anymore. They said we should submit the documents afresh. We did that but still nothing has happened up till now; we haven’t heard from them.
The last time we went to Alausa was May last year.
We still go to LUTH for physiotherapy. We pay 25,000 every month. We have started seeing some improvement. He can talk now, but he still cannot walk; he only crawls and uses diapers. Doctors are assuring us that he will walk again but they said they can’t tell how soon it will be. They had earlier said he wouldn’t be able to walk again because his spinal cord was affected. So, I went to price a wheelchair; they said it was N48, 000. A friend lent me N20, 000 to deposit for the wheelchair, and then somebody helped me to borrow money from a cooperative society. We bought the wheelchair, we buy drugs like seven times per day; we did one X-ray for N70,000, and another one for N80, 000. I have all the receipts here. We did a scan for N55, 000. I can no longer cope; the debts are becoming unbearable.
Last week Friday, one doctor at LUTH said we had been spending too much money, so he advised us to go to one hospital on Badagry Expressway to see another expert, so my son can walk again. When we got there, he (Ridwan) was asked to do some exercise, which he did. After the doctor examined him, he said we would have to get 350,000 for the surgery for him to walk again and also get funds to get the drugs for effective recovery. We’ve not been able to get the money; I have sold all my belongings; I have nothing left.
I am a widow; my husband died some years back; there is no help from anywhere. Family and friends have tried to support us the little way they could, particularly when we were in LUTH, but right now, it’s been difficult getting support.
Life has not been fair, in all honesty. Ridwan is a hard-working young man but since he has been bedridden, he has become helpless and jobless.
I am a trader at Mile12 and my daughter works. She’s been supporting us with whatever little she gets, too. I am pleading with the Lagos State government and Good Samaritans for assistance. I wouldn’t even wish for my enemy to go through what we are passing through. We need support so my son can undergo his surgery and walk again.