Ms. Kate Chinweudo is the older sister of the late Chizoba Agu, a 27-year-old biochemistry graduate from the Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State, who reportedly died while participating in the recent #EndSARS protest that turned violent in the Lekki tollbooth. in Lagos. She tells ALEXANDER OKERE why the grieving family demands justice for the deceased.
What is your relationship with the late Chizoba Agu?
My name is Mrs. Agu Kate Chinweudo. I am the older sister of Agu Chizoba Francisca. He graduated in 2019 from Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Anambra State, and was preparing for the mandatory one-year program of the National Youth Service Corps. But sadly, she is dead. He studied biochemistry.
When did you find out about his death?
October 20, 2020.
As a step?
I live in Ota, Ogun State, with my husband, so my mother called me on the phone and told me that my younger sister had had an accident. I wondered what had happened. I called her (Francisca’s) number but it was someone else who answered the call. The person said that my sister had an accident at the Lekki tollbooth. The person said that the protesters were participating in the #EndSARS She protested when a car hit her and sped up. I asked where they took her and they told me they took her to a hospital in Lekki Phase 1, but I was unable to go that day due to the curfew imposed by the Lagos state government. But the next day, I took a chance with my husband and we went to the Lagoon Hospital, where she was admitted after being rejected by five different hospitals. At Lagoon Hospital, we saw her but she was in a coma. She died on November 1, 2020. At around 3 in the afternoon, we were told that she was dead.
Did a doctor at the hospital tell you something about his death?
One of the consultants told us that he had a brain injury. I asked if I could have brain surgery, but they said no. They said she didn’t need that because she needed to be awake before she could have brain surgery, if necessary. Along the line, they said he developed acute kidney failure. I was surprised that he didn’t have any kidney problems. He even went on dialysis before dying.
Did you know that your little sister was in Lagos at the time?
She was not based in Lagos. He came to Lagos to buy clothes because he usually bought clothes in Lagos and sold them in the southeast. She came to Lagos during the #EndSARS protest, so she joined the protesters.
Did you know that he joined the demonstration on October 20?
Yes, he knew, but that was not the first day he joined the protest. I saw her photo on one of her social media platforms and asked her if she joined the protest and she said yes; even our mother warned him to be careful.
Did he tell you why he decided to join the #EndSARS protest?
It was because Nigeria is not good, that he needed to do the right thing. Unfortunately, it was something that led to a premature grave because she was a young woman.
Was the person who informed you that he had an accident identified himself?
It was a woman who called me. She said that she was a passerby and that there were many people on the protest ground. The lady even told me that they had to walk to the hospital because the vehicle they took was overloaded with passengers. He said my late sister received first aid before the Lagoon Hospital admitted her.
Other than injuries the doctor told you had, what other injuries did you notice when you saw your sister in the hospital?
I asked them if there was any other part of their body affected and they said no. Later, I was told that my sister developed kidney failure. It was the head injury that affected his brain. The doctor did not tell me that he had any gunshot wounds. But he had small fractures to his leg and hands.
When you arrived at the hospital on the first day, were there any other witnesses who explained how the accident happened?
No. I didn’t see anyone.
Did you finally see the person who called you when you got to the hospital?
No, I didn’t see her but I have her number.
What can you say about the personality of your late sister?
He hated injustice. She knew her rights. My sister was a good person. She was the kind of person who didn’t look for trouble; even your friends can attest to it. My sister died fighting for a better country. I wanted a better Nigeria. There was a photo that showed her carrying a sign with the inscription: ‘#Bubu has been a bad boy’.
Do you remember the last argument you had with her?
My last conversation with her was about taking her to Super on Ile Epo to shop for clothes. He also planned to go to his school for authorization once the school reopened.
Did he share his thoughts with you on the state of the country?
We had been discussing it even before the protests started. You and I know that the country is not in the right state. That was what motivated her to join the protest and if she had the chance, she would continue to do the same. She complained a lot that things were not working in the country; He said that if he had his way, he would travel out of the country.
What were your aspirations?
He had a great dream. He had his own skincare line before he died. He told me that he would like to travel abroad to continue his education.
Has your family been contacted by the Lagos State government or some of the prominent people who participated in the demonstration?
No. There was one day when I went to the hospital and the Lagos State Health Commissioner (Dr. Akin Abayomi) came, but the hospital did not allow us to meet him.
What does your family believe is responsible for your sister’s death?
It is not clear who was responsible for his death because initially, the hospital did not tell us that he had kidney failure. My sister had a scan. Why didn’t they tell us that he initially had kidney failure?
Do you suspect anything else?
Honestly, I don’t know. Only God knows. When my husband told the consultant to give him a report on Chizoba’s condition, they refused, saying that we were not doctors and that we were not supposed to ask for that and that we would not know what was written there. I think that was not correct.
Does your family intend to request an autopsy to find out the true cause of death?
My dad died 22 years ago; he was an immigration officer before he died and my mother is a small merchant. So, she was traumatized. We didn’t even let him know that my sister had died. It was the day she was buried, November 4, that we informed our mother. We don’t have the resources to do an autopsy. My mother is not in the right frame of mind right now because she didn’t see it coming. Before my sister traveled to Lagos, I was in town with my mother. He told my mother that he wanted to go to Lagos to buy clothes so that he could sell them in the southeast. But the body of his daughter was taken home. So that can only make one traumatized. She is still in shock. We would like the Lagos State government to intervene by investigating the cause of my sister’s death. There is nothing I can do to bring him back to life, but I want justice. I want to know what led to my sister’s death.
Source: The PUNCH