Until he decided to end his life by jumping into the lagoon on Sunday afternoon, Allwell Orji, a medical doctor, paid frequent visits to 3, Odunukan street.
It is unclear if Orji resided there, but his family members are among the occupants of the one-storey building painted brown.
One of the residents told journalists hat Orji was staying there with his siblings – a boy and a girl, another said he only visited his family members.
But a neighbour said Orji’s father resided in the house until he died three years ago.
When newsmen got to the house around 4:50pm, the gate was locked. After waiting for about 30 minutes, two men with bible in their hands walked out of the building, and kept walking, giving the impression that they were not ready to entertain questions.
Immediately they stepped out, the gate was locked. A peep through a little opening between the wall and the fence showed that chairs were arranged in the compound, where a few cars were parked.
A number of people were also seen in hushed conversation.
An elderly man on the street, who pleaded anonymity, told newsmen that the victim was not the one to start a conversation.
“He was tall and fair, with a slim figure. He doesn’t interact, only greeted people when he was going out or coming back,” he said.
“I don’t think he lived here, but he came here regularly. His mother had three children, two boys and one girl.
“Since his parents started living here, they have not had trouble with people on the street. Their father died about three or four years ago, and their mother also retired recently, but I don’t know where she worked.”
e University of Lagos.
He also said he heard that Orji had attempted suicide in the past, but Shina did not go into details.
“I know him, their house is on Odunukan street. His mother retired not too long ago from UNILAG,” he said
“They attend Deeper Life Bible Church and I heard that it is not the first time that he has tried to commit suicide.”
Orji was a graduate of the College of Medicine of UNILAG. He was said to have worked at Mount Sinai Hospital, which has six branches in different part of Lagos.
Efforts to trace the particular place he worked did not yield the desired result, as the individuals who picked calls on the telephone lines available on the hospital’s website, were not willing to divulge relevant information.
“What do you want to do with this information? If you need a doctor to attend to you, come over to the hospital,” said a lady who answered the call from the Surulere branch of the hospital, before ending the conversation abruptly.
“We don’t know any doctor by that name,” said the receptionist at Isolo.
Many have been reacting to the death of Orji, particularly on social media.
One Attah Essien, a medical doctor, who also graduated from UNILAG, wrote a moving tribute titled: ‘And The Doctor Died’.
Essien said Orji was learning the rudiments of the profession when he graduated.
Lamenting the condition under which many doctors in Nigeria work, Essien explored some of the possible reasons why Orji decided to end it all on that dark Sunday.
Dr Orji Allwell was my junior and also a graduate of College of Medicine University of Lagos. Indeed I left the great citadel of learning just when he was learning the rudiments of the profession hence our paths never crossed but if they had, I would have embraced him like a brother and share ward round tales of how we survived the likes of Professor Bode and Professor Odum.
Indeed the dark-side of medicine in Nigeria has once again reared its ugly head. A profession that is in the final death throes of extinction has claimed another victim.
Indeed many see doctors as being on top of the food chain hence they carry a heavy burden. Numerous relatives feast on their finances like hungry vultures who keep on coming back for more carion. They can never take no for answer for it is said doctors always have money as if they work in Nigerian Mint.
And the frustration only mounts when you see your colleagues who travelled overseas faring far better despite your waning patriotic zeal that Nigeria will be better.
Then there is the poor state of affairs in the health sector. Incessant strikes and decaying infrastructure have reduced doctors in Nigeria to a basal level of indignation and anger. It is now easier to squeeze water from stone than ensure the best possible care for patients. The most basic of life saving measures like oxygen and blood transfusion services are fast becoming a luxury and it is only a man of stone who will not feel depressed at the loss of a patient whose life could have been saved. Doctors see the poverty and the helplessness of the common man every day. And when you care for another human being, their problems become your problem as well hence you share in their laughter, sorrow or frustrations.
But the worst culprit of them all are fellow doctors. How many colleagues called Dr Orji and asked how he was doing? How many went out of their way to show him love through his time of difficulty? A doctor is not super human. He is flesh and blood. We all need each other. Instead professional rivalry.
Dr Orji took it to the extreme but many more doctors are ill motivated and dissatisfied with the system. Those who can, have left while others are in the process of leaving. These are indeed the lucky majority for Nigeria has twice the number of Nigerian trained doctors overseas than the number at home.
Don’t mind the facade of Dr Orji’s beautiful Nissan SUV, the man had issues and just a calming word could have averted this tragedy.
The tributes are still pouring in, but one thing is certain, Orji will never return to this world again. He is gone and only memories will linger.
Rescue officials are still searching for his corpse in the lagoon.
Kehinde Adebayo, spokesman of the Lagos State Management Emergency Agency (LASEMA), could not be reached for update on the development when this report was filed.
But as of 3pm on Monday, Adebayo told newsmenthat efforts were still being made to retrieve Orji’s corpse.
“The body is yet to be recovered as the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency and other stakeholders are still on ground,” he had said.
“The marine police and the local divers are still on the patrol of the area, while general manager of LASEMA has also advised fishermen and people doing business around the waterways to inform the agency in case any floating body is discovered on the water.”