A 25-year-old woman, Hanifat Kareem, has threatened to end her life after she lost a leg in an accident at the Ojota area of Lagos State.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the Ibadan, Oyo State indigene was going to see a friend in the Surulere area when she was hit by a LAGBUS vehicle in the Ojota area.
She told our correspondent that she was dragged by the bus for some distance before some commuters stopped the vehicle around Ikosi, Ketu, the next bus stop.
She said, “My ordeal started on Saturday, April 25, 2015, while I was going on a visit. I live in Magboro, Ogun State, and was heading for Surulere, Lagos State, that day. When I got to Ojota and was about to climb a pedestrian bridge, a LAGBUS hit me.
“The vehicle dragged me to Ikosi, Ketu. Some commuters chased the bus and rescued me. But immediately the driver saw what happened, he abandoned the vehicle and fled.
“I was taken to the General Hospital, Lagos Island, and was unconscious for some days. One of my legs was amputated because of the extent of my injuries. After spending three months at the hospital, I was discharged.”
PUNCH Metro learnt that the driver of the bus had been sacked by the company about three months to the incident.
He was reported to have taken the vehicle from a friend who was still working with LAGBUS in order to make some money for himself.
He was returning the bus when the accident happened.
Kareem said LAGBUS paid her hospital bills and one of the officials, Tosin Alamu, asked her to go to the National Orthopaedic Hospital Igbobi, for a prosthetic leg.
She said after she was given the artificial leg, Alamu invited her to the LAGBUS office at Ikosi, Ketu.
“When I got there, he said the management had said I should be paid a compensation of N50,000. I was surprised because the money was too small. But he said that was all the government could give me and that he even struggled to get the money out.
“He asked me to sign a document that I received the money, but I refused. I asked him for the cheque with which the money was issued, but he said the money was paid directly into his account and I should thank my stars that I was not on a BRT lane when the accident happened. He said the payment was on compassionate grounds,” she added.
The victim said six months after collecting the prosthetic leg, it got damaged and she called Alamu for help to repair it.
She noted that the official shunned her.
After raising N60,000 to buy a new one as the damage was reported to be irreparable, Kareeem said the new prosthetic leg developed another fault.
“I could no longer walk well with it. When I approached the orthopaedic hospital, I was told that I would have to buy another one. I called Alamu the second time for help, but he abused me and said I should allow him to enjoy his life and I should never call him again. I returned to Igbobi after raising N40,000 and begged the man in charge, one Dimeji, to loan me the N20,000 balance and I promised to repay him.
“Till now, I have not repaid the debt. I have two children aged three and five, and they have been out of school since last year. When my husband saw that the problem had become unbearable, he abandoned me. I am tired of my life and will kill myself if I can’t find a way out,” she said.
A human rights activist, Rachael Sparkle, appealed to the state government to intervene in the case, adding that Kareem was depressed by her condition.
“We know the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, is a good man. We want him to intervene. The state government should support her,” she added.
However, Alamu said the vehicle involved was owned by a company under LAGBUS franchise, adding that the affected organisation was defunct.
He explained that as of the time of the incident, he was in charge of accident and emergency.
He said, “Some people came to represent her. They were three human rights lawyers and it was what they demanded that they got. They asked for some amount, I think N100,000, and they collected the money.
“We still talk as brother and sister and I don’t know why she is making these allegations against me. LAGBUS did not pay any money. It was the subsidiary, which was operating under the franchise that paid the money. As of the time the accident happened, things were okay for the company. But now, the office is closed down. As I speak with you, I am at home and I don’t have another job. I was owed six months’ salaries.”
When our correspondent demanded the company’s contact, he asked our correspondent to call LAGBUS since the organisation was under it.
The LAGBUS Public Affairs Officer, Oluyemi Adesoye, said she would get in touch with the franchise department of the transport company to know if the case was reported.
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