Deceased born, worked atMt Sinai Hospital –Colleague
Four days after he dived into the lagoon from the Third Mainland Bridge, searchers yesterday found the body of Dr. Oji Allwell Chiawolamoke at the CMS axis of Lagos.
This came as the state Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, yesterday disclosed that the police were already making moves to analyse the phone conversations of the late Oji. The body was recovered by the combined team of the Marine Police and divers from the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), who had been patrolling the waterways since Sunday.
The LASWA General Manager, ‘Bisola Kamson, said the tidal waves moved towards the CMS axis, hence the search for the body along the axis. According to her, the clothes on the body recovered matched what the late doctor was wearing – Chinos and long sleeves shirt. The family has also confirmed the body as Orji’s and was with the Marine Police at press time.
The body was also identified by Oji’s driver in the presence of the Police Commissioner, Owoseni, who promised that body would be handed over to the family. Speaking on the recovery efforts, Kamson said: “Since the recent development and tidal waves of the lagoon moves towards Elegbata, CMS axis of the Marina, we had intensified the search around that axis.
That is where tidal movement heads. So any drop from the (Third Mainland Bridge) scene of the incident would move towards CMS, Elegbata axis. “Members of our monitoring team are now just coming out of the water. We had local divers who also worked in collaboration with LASWA and Marine Police. You know that different people were patrolling different areas in the water.
The water body is so large that everyone will search everywhere. “The family members came and were able to identify that the body about one and a half hours ago. It was an unfortunate incident, but Lagosians must be safety conscious at all times, even while driving on the bridge.” Also, the General Manager, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Adeshina Tiamiyu, who expressed condolence on behalf of the government to the family, said government would still embark on investigations into the incident.
Tiamiyu, who promised that the body would be handed over to the family while investigation continues, declared the search closed. Meanwhile, Owoseni said analysis of the phone conversations was part of police investigation to get to the root of Oji’s suicide. He said: “The mother of the deceased and I were at the scene on the Third Mainland Bridge.
We recovered his phone and we are going to use technology to analyse his last conversation. We will make our findings public after investigation.”
The police boss, however, stressed that it was a criminal offence for anyone to commit suicide. He said: “If it was in the Nigeria Police Force, the policeman who commits suicide would be tried and dismissed (posthumously) for taking his life.”
Owoseni, who apologised for declaring the body recovered on Tuesday as that of the late Oji, explained that when the corpse was recovered by the Marine Police, the doctor’s family, boss and driver said it was not Oji. He also denounced speculation that Oji left a suicide note in his car.
The late Oji’s colleague at Mt. Sinai Hospital, Dr. Kingmate John, said the deceased had been working with the hospital for about four years as a resident doctor and was always on night duty. He said: “On the day of the incident, he was supposed to be on night duty. No one suspected anything. No matter where Dr. Oji might be in Lagos, ones it is time for his duty, he would rush down. Many of our patients, who were used to him, are yet to come to term with the situation. One patient was at the hospital that Sunday waiting to see him.
We just can’t believe that he did what we heard. “The doctor’s mother always comes to the hospital to see him with food. Nothing suggests that he was going through any depression. When he was not happy and you asked him, he would tell you ‘I am not happy.’
“He was born at Ebute-Metta branch of Mt. Sinai Hospital. After his graduation from Medical School, he came back to the same hospital to work.
He was an intelligent and humble doctor.” Oji was described as someone who was willing to always assist and make people happy. “Nurses, cleaners and security personnel were all full of grief over the incident,” John added. Also, the Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Lagos, Dr. Olumuyiwa Odusote, said Oji could have committed suicide because of his health challenges.
Odusote said considering that many doctor were currently facing work overload, leading to stress and depression, “most of which often lead to burn out, it has now become necessary to begin medical education for doctors with a view to enlightening them on strategies of caring for themselves. “This will also teach them how to identify signs of stress and burn out in themselves and colleagues.”