By Ekeh Geoffrey
After a lull in the spate of suicides and attempted suicides along water bodies in the metropolis, a 40-year-old man, simply identified as Adekunle John, yesterday jumped into the Lagos lagoon through the Ikoyi- Lekki link bridge.
According to the police, the man, who hailed from Ondo State, dropped some of his personal belongings before plunging into the water.
As at press time, late yesterday night, his body has not been found by security operatives and fishermen who rushed to the scene minutes after he jumped in to rescue him.
Confirming the incident, LASEMA spokesman, Adebayo Kehinde, said in a statement that the agency received a distress call from the LCC officials regarding a man who reportedly jumped into the lagoon around Lekki Toll Gate Bridge at about 9:58am yesterday. The footage, which was captured through the CCTV, shows when he suddenly pulled off his clothes and shoe. He looked around to be sure that no one was around him before he jumped into the lagoon.
The agency immediately activated its emergency response with other stakeholders, which included the Lagos State Waterways Authority, Marine Police, Lagos State Ambulance Services and the Nigerian Police from Maroko Division.
“Although the body is still missing, effort is on going to recover the body by men of the Marine Police and the Lagos State Waterways Authority who are still combing through the waters.
The General Manager, LASEMA, Mr. Adesina Tiamiyu, said it would be inappropriate to release the identity of the man, but that his family had been contacted, while all items found on him were also handed over to the Nigerian Police from Maroko Division for further investigation.
The lagoon has in recent times claimed lives, as many Lagosians seemed to have found it attractive resort for suicide.
Last year alone, no fewer than 12 suicide cases and five foiled attempts were recorded in Lagos within six months.
This year, the trigger that seemed to have started all these was the suicide of Dr. Allwell Chiawolamoke Oji, a medical doctor attached to Mount Sinai Hospital, Papa Ajao, Mushin. The middle-aged unmarried medical doctor had jumped into the lagoon at Third Mainland Bridge after he ordered his driver to park his car, a Nissan Sports Utility Vehicle with registration number LND476EE.
It took about four days of frantic search by law enforcement agents before his body was recovered and his family identified him.
But this was after another body was found by the divers. According to those in the know, the doctor had been battling with Sickle Cell Anaemia, accompanied by severe seizures.
The same day, a woman simply identified as Emerald also attempted suicide by jumping into the lagoon from Maza-Maza Bridge in the Mile 2 area of Lagos.
According to eyewitness account, the middle-aged woman was walking along the bridge when she suddenly got to the middle, climbed the rails and jumped. Luckily she was rescued by some men who were under the bridge before she could drown.
Few days later, operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS), rescued two women who attempted to commit suicide by jumping into the lagoon. The women, in separate incidents, attempted to jump into the lagoon from the Third Mainland Bridge and Carter Bridge in Lagos.
One of them, identified as Abigail Ogunyinka succeeded in jumping into the lagoon but was quickly rescued by divers, while the other woman, Taiwo Titilayo Momoh, was rescued while attempting to jump into the lagoon from the Third Mainland Bridge.
They claimed during an interview that they attempted suicide in order to escape from creditors.
The next day, in what appeared to be a rising trend in Lagos, the police again rescued a man, who reportedly attempted to jump into the lagoon. The middle-aged man was prevented from jumping into the lagoon through the Third Mainland Bridge by policemen from the Rapid Response Squad.
It was gathered that the unidentified old man, said to be in his late 60s, was peeping into the lagoon from the bridge and attempting to jump, when he was rescued. He was immediately taken to the RRS headquarters in Alausa Ikeja, from where he was transferred to the State Criminal Investigations Department (SCID), Panti, Yaba.