According to an exclusive report by PUNCH, a businessman in the Surulere area of Lagos State, George Ikechukwu, has disclosed that he witnessed the moment a middle-aged man, Sheriff Oladejo, jumped into the lagoon from Third Mainland Bridge on Friday.
While speaking in a chat with Saturday PUNCH, Ikechukwu said his vehicle was directly behind the Toyota Corolla car in which Oladejo was.
The deceased according to News Agency of Nigeria, was a driver attached to an Assistant Director in charge of Information Communication Technology unit of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria.
He was said to have been newly posted from the FRCN Training School located in Shogunle to the Broadcasting House in Ikoyi, Lagos.
Explaining what transpired shortly before the suicide, Ikechukwu said there was light traffic along UNILAG waterfront end of the bridge as a result of a vehicle that broke down on the road.
He said Oladejo, who was sitting at the back of the car, hurriedly opened the door and in a split second, clung to the railings of the bridge.
The businessman said, “We were on Third Mainland Bridge after the UNILAG Waterfront about 9am. I was behind the brown Toyota Corolla 2001 model where the man was. There were three people inside the car, the driver and a woman sitting in the front. The man sat at the back.
“There was a faulty vehicle on the road, so we all had to reduce our speed. I noticed the car (the Toyota Corolla) in front of me slowed down, and the man jumped out in front my car.
“I thought their car was over-flooding and he wanted to call the attention of the fishermen to help them with water or he wanted to urinate. But the next thing I saw was that the tall man climbed the culvert. He wore a grey shirt with brown trousers and a cap. The man wore a very desperate look. He should be in his late 40s.
“My wife and I were looking at him as he held the railings and jumped into the water, head-first. I parked immediately and disembarked from my car. The driver of the Toyota Corolla also came down. We could not see any trace of his body because the water was calm.”
Ikechukwu said they called for help and three fishermen responded. He said the fishermen searched the water for about 30 minutes without success.
“We later drove to a checkpoint where policemen were. The driver was shouting and panicking. He was saying something in Yoruba, which I did not understand. I left the scene when my wife started fidgeting,” he added.
Our correspondent learnt that Oladejo’s body was later recovered by a joint team of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Marine Police, Lagos State Waterways Authority and Rapid Response Squad.
LASEMA General Manager, Mr. Tiamiyu Adesina, said the agency received a distress call at 9.25 am.
“A preliminary report at the scene revealed that the victim asked the driver to stop on the bridge for him to urinate and then he jumped into the lagoon. The body was recovered and taken to the LASWA jetty at Ebute Ero. It was thereafter handed over to the Adekunle Police Division for further investigation.”
The Lagos State Police Publ Relations Officer, CSP Chike Oti, confirmed that the man was a passenger in a Toyota Corolla car, adding that the deceased had been identified by his relatives.
“The man’s name is Sherifu Oladejo. He was a passenger in that vehicle. He was a driver,” he added.