Nigeria: Man climbs electric pole in bid to commit suicide

There was drama on Adebisi Oguniyi Crescent, Lekki-Ikate Round About, Lekki, after a Cameroonian, identified as Fredrick Gino, climbed an electric pole on the street and threatened to kill himself.

Efforts by residents, officers of the local fire service, Eko Electric Distribution Company and the police to persuade him to rescind the decision were abortive.

The victim reportedly expressed frustration with his life, saying he preferred to die.

After clutching on to the pole for more than nine hours,it was learnt that some officials of the Lagos State Fire Service and Lagos State Emergency Management Agency climbed the pole to rescue him.

Gino was said to have jumped onto the roof of a nearby house, tore a part of the zinc and proceeded to slit his own throat before he was overpowered, rescued and taken to a medical facility.

A resident, Ken Egbas, told newsmen that the victim climbed the concrete pole without any support around 6.30am on Thursday.

He said, “The pole is in front of my house. I woke up around 6.30am and I heard people outside screaming. I observed that the subject of the commotion was half-clad and threatening to kill himself.

“He lamented that he did not have money and clothes. He said he had gone to Morocco, but they chased him away, insisting that he wanted to die.

“At about 6.37am, he ran towards the pole in front of my house and climbed it from the ground to the top without any ladder. Then he stood at the top of the high-tension wire. I have never seen such a thing in my life.”

Egbas, a public relations expert, lamented that despite calling the emergency numbers from 7am and tweeting at the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, no agency of government showed up until 3pm.

He explained that when he reached out to the agencies on the phone, they frustrated him by shifting responsibility from one agency to another.

 Egbas said he later approached Gino and offered him N5,000, adding that he refused to take the money.

“He was speaking a mixture of Hausa/Fulani and French languages. When I brought out N5,000 and asked him to take it, he said if he came down, people would beat him. I promised to protect him, but he said I should get him a packet of cigarettes and a bottle of gin. He did not take the money,” he added.

It was gathered that policemen from the Maroko division, firefighters from Lekki and officials of the Eko Electric later showed up at the scene.

A resident reportedly offered his inflatable bouncing castle to make the job of getting Gino to the ground easier.

Egbas said, “But the officials appeared not to know what to do. When one of them eventually climbed the ladder, the man started using his teeth to cut the high-tension wire on the pole and that scared the official, who quickly came down. The man who brought the bouncing castle deflated it and took it away. At this point, the police, firefighters and the electricity officers left the scene.”

Officials of the Lagos State Fire Service and LASEMA were reported to have later arrived around 3pm and eventually rescued Gino.

The Director of the Lagos State Fire Service, Rasak Fadipe, said Gino was rushed to a hospital after the rescue, adding that the victim was not mentally stable.

He said, “The Lekki Phase 1 fire station responded. We rescued him alive. During the operation, he jumped onto a roof and started slitting his throat. He was brought down safely and taken to Oba Elegushi Primary Health Care Centre, Ikate.”

The Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, denied that the police left the scene during the rescue operation.

She said, “The police assisted in ensuring his safety during the whole operation. The man is a Cameroonian and from all indications, he has mental illness. After his treatment, he will be handed over to Cameroonian authorities.”

The General Manager of LASEMA, Michael Akindele, said proper investigations would be conducted into the incident.

He said, “People must be vigilant of strange faces and the activities around them.”

The General Manager, Corporate Communications, EKEDC, Idemudia Godwin, who described the incident as bizarre, denied that the officials abandoned the Cameroonian on the pole.

He said, “It was a bizarre situation. The man could have been electrocuted. However, there was no power supply on that line. We also had to ensure that all our lines leading to that area were knocked off. At a point, he started disconnecting the lines with his bare hands, injuring himself in the process. He was very violent and resisted attempts to bring him down.

“I have never seen such a thing in my entire life.”
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