Chiemelie Ezeobi and Sunday Ehigiator write that for late Dr. Stephen Urueye, a medical doctor attached to Lagos University Teaching Hospital, who was cut down in his prime just a day after he graduated from medical school, his dreams were aborted just before it even began
“We did our best, all of us, from the blood bank team to the chest compression team. We fought for you and you fought to remain with us. Each time you squeezed a hand, we felt joy. Each time we found a shockable rhythm, we had hope. When you started making respiratory effort, we believed. I believed so much that I looked forward to nodding at you from afar during intersecting ward rounds. I looked forward to you being The Guy That Lived. We all wanted you to live, we prayed in various tongues, in tears and in every single action. Stephen, I don’t understand. I am not angry, I am not tired, I am just numb to think of your body in that morgue. cold. still, unmoving.”
Those were the moving words of one of late Dr. Stephen Urueye’s colleague, as posted by one @Zihnne. The deceased, a house officer with the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), was killed barely a day after he convocated from the University of Lagos College of Medcine.
Urueye, the only son of a widow, had burnt the midnight candle for seven years and graduated only to be stabbed to death by armed robbers at the Idi Araba area of Mushin.
According to reports, his death would have been preventable if the authorities had done the needful in providing security in the area, given the rampant attacks recorded in the area.
The deceased was said to have been walking along the Idi Araba road where LUTH is located, when two hoodlums had attacked him, stabbed him and still made away with his properties.
To protect the senseless death, students and doctors took to the streets of Lagos to protest. Calling for justice with the hashtag #JusticeforStephen, they also tasked the authorities for improved security of lives and property in the university community and beyond.
The call for security according to THISDAY checks is of necessity given the porous nature of the environment. For an area that parades a federal hospital of LUTH’s caliber, it’s environs pose a serious security breach.
The police also who were not resting on its oars immediately swung into action. At about 9.45pm the next day, they made some arrests.
According to the state Public Relations Officer, DSP Bala Elkana, “the Itire Police Station had received a distress call that some hoodlums armed with knives attacked one Dr Stephen Urueye ‘m’ a Resident Doctor with LUTH and dispossessed him of his valuables such as handsets.
“They equally stabbed him at his right thigh and back with knife. The incident happened around Canal Area of Ishaga Road, Idi Araba while the victim was going somewhere with his friend.
“The victim was rushed to LUTH Idi Araba where he eventually died in the early hours of April 5. Two suspects namely Gbadebo Jimoh and Malik Adeboye were arrested in connection with the case. CP Zubairu Muazu directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police Panti to take over the investigation.”
As emotions ran riot, LUTH had to react to quell the situation. According to LUTH Public Relations Officer, Kelechi Otuneme, all efforts to resuscitate Urueye both at the accident scene, afterwards at the emergency ward and at the intensive care unit failed.
In a statement issued on behalf of the hospital he said: “Members of top management and Specialist Consultants, including the Chief Medical Director were on the ground till late the morning when he passed on. The matter has since been reported to the police and investigation is ongoing.
“We implore all staff to be calm and refrain from speculative or inflammatory comments or statements and go about their lawful duties as investigation continues. Our heart goes out to his family, colleagues, friends and the LUTH community as we pray that God will comfort us all on this time of great mourning.”
Joel Nwokeoma in a dirge titled ‘Tears for Stephen’, wrote on his Facebook page. He said: “Stephen, my boy, and brother to my beloved sister, Aminat Mojisola Wahab-Gbadamosi, it’s devastating to learn you were the UNILAG trained medical doctor chap on housemanship at LUTH knifed to death in Lagos.
“I can’t think of your death and what it means to your family especially your aged mum, who invested all she had in you and your sisters who loved and doted on you all your life.
“I watched you grow and astonishingly you grew and towered above all in your family. I said as much in the comment I made sometime ago on your photo I saw on Facebook on your sister, Memunat’s wall.
Being told by my colleague, Eric Dumo, who was seeking to speak to your family on Friday afternoon, that I knew you, was the worst and depressing tale I had in recent times.
“How a quiet boy like you could die such a violent death is most ludicrous. Trained to save lives yet had your life wasted by monsters in a country that cares less about the living. So sad, my Steve. Still speechless.”
His friend and former UNILAG SUG president, Adeyeye Olorunfemi, also took to his Facebook to mourn his passing. He said: “And we lost Stephen. We lost this young doctor who wants to save lives to insecurity.
He died 24 hours after his graduation. After eight years of struggle in the jungle called Nigeria.
“He was stabbed by armed robbers and died of stab wounds right in front of a government teaching hospital- LUTH. Stab wounds!
“The medical students said they have always complained about the frequent robbery attacks around and on the College of Medicine, Idi-Araba Campus but the management kept turning deaf ears.
“You know ‘noisemakers’ like us like to protest. But you don’t want to protest because you don’t want to die. Events have shown us that you don’t have to partake in any protest before you die in Nigeria. Just be a Nigerian! We are all in this together. My heart is heavy!”
On other social media platforms it was no different. As curated by THISDAY, the comments were soaked in pains, anguish anf sorrow at the life of a young budding doctor cut down in his prime.
@sanmi_O said: “#JusticeForStephen did not end yesterday (the day of the protest). His widowed mother needs all the assistance we can give right now. We would be pooling resources to donate to the grieving family.The goal is to take care of their finances until they have recovered. It’s not enough to sigh or rant.”
Tweeting via @certifiedad, one Bukola said: “The government knows these areas prone 2 attacks by history of reports should be fortified with d police and security operatives #JusticeForStephen
Kunle Adeniran said: “I don’t understand how the once fortified security achitecture of Lagos State suddenly collapsed. The story of #JusticeForStephen still vibrates.”
Dr. Chioma Nwakanma said: “A hospital in an environment of high crime rate. Yet the government has done nothing to tighten security Now in one night a young promising doctor, only son, who just convocated on Wednesday, stabbed to death by 9pm AT LUTH gate, plus male and female hostels robbed!”
@DrOlufunmilayo said: “He became a medical doctor last year. His mum is a widow. She sent him to medical school for six years. Dr Stephen was going to work in LUTH yesterday. Today he is dead. How do you explain to his mum that her son who just did convocation two days ago was killed?”
Funa Chukwuma said: “Nigeria yet loses another star! How many lives have to go before we get it right? A young medical doctor, murdered around the hospital environs! I did not know him personally but he represents everyone of us who faces these challenges in the line of duty.”
@pictaler said: “Hi Mushin/Surulere, You know LUTH! This is where medical doctors are trained! You remember them? The ones that will take care of you when you get all wobbly sick! The ones that pay your bills when you can’t meet up! Why are you harming us? Why?!! #JusticeForStephen”
Gbemi Dennis said: “Stephen is a promising young doctor, had his convocation in UNILAG yesterday, robbed and stabbed yesterday right in front of where he works. Is this the reward for all the years? Nowhere is safe anymore, so much pains & grief everywhere. Nigeria. #JusticeForStephen”
Mide M.D said: “He dedicated his life to saving the lives of others. Only to have his snatched by a bunch of miscreants. How can we save lives when we are not even safe??? This is madness! #JusticeForStephen.”
Deji @dna_xo said: “It’s a shocker that he used to stay on my floor two years ago, it’s really a big shock. Condolences to everyone that knew and loved him and I wish his family comfort and peace. #RIPDrStephen #JusticeforStephen.”
Chike from Hellocare @ChikeMD said: “One minute you are alive and full of promise, next minute you are dead, killed by people who don’t place a premium on human life.”
Gbenga @Adanzy17 said: “These hoodlums at Idi-Araba have robbed and stolen from us for years now. Last night they killed one of us. They killed my friend. They need to be stopped please. #JusticeForStephen.”
A.G @Onthebridleway said: “I’m so appalled because there is literally a Police station opposite that canal, yet lives are being lost on a daily basis and people robbed. This hit too close to home, it really did #JusticeForStephen.”