The family of the middle-aged man who drowned after jumping into the Lagos lagoon in the early hours of Tuesday yesterday claimed his body from the State Environmental Health Monitoring Unit (SEHMU).
The man identified as Lekan (surname withheld) passed on despite efforts of paramedics present to resuscitate him. On him were found two identification cards, a national ID card and a membership card of the Nigerian Automobile Technicians Association (NATA). All efforts to reach the association to confirm the late Lekan’s membership met a brick-wall as members reached refused to comment.
It was gathered that he jumped into the lagoon after trekking on the Third Mainland Bridge for some time and was initially rescued by some local fishermen before officials of the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) arrived at the scene.A source close to the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), who pleaded for anonymity, told The Guardian that suicide in the lagoon was now on the increase than ever before. “There is no week that we don’t have a case of someone jumping into the Lagos lagoon, which never get reported.
“We don’t want to make a noise about it because we believe suicide isn’t something to be celebrated or glorified and we also do want to not only give them dignity in death but afford their families and loved ones a degree of privacy. “No family would like to hear their loved one passed away, worse still, in a circumstance like suicide. It would be terrible for us to now start dragging their names and faces in the media. Times are hard but I want to encourage anyone going through a difficult time to reach out for help. Suicide isn’t the option.”
Confirming that they were not yet clear on what drove the late Lekan to take his life, he added that investigations were still ongoing. However, a visit by The Guardian to the residence of the deceased at the Aswani area in Isolo met a somber mood. The tenants in the house where he lived haven’t come to terms over his death. They were seen standing in groups and discussing the unfortunate incident.
Members of his family refused to speak but a few neighbours described him as a gentle, peaceful and God-fearing man. In unison, they wondered what would have driven him to take such a drastic step. A resident who pleaded anonymity said spiritual forces might be at work as the deceased didn’t look like someone that wanted to end his life in such manner.
This latest incident is coming some months after the controversial case of a woman who was reported to have jumped to her death in the lagoon after abandoning her car on the bridge. Till date, no body has been recovered despite several days of search. Also, last month, a robber who was escaping police chase, jumped into the lagoon with his loot.
The operatives of the Rapid Response Squad were chasing after the ‘one-chance robbers’ on the bridge when one of the suspects jumped into the lagoon with the gang’s loot. Two others were arrested. The robbers abandoned their vehicle and were fleeing on foot when they were arrested.