An Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Mukaila Lamidi, lives on the outskirt of Sango-Ota, at a place popularly called Ntabo Ijoko in Ogun State.
The road to his residence is a nightmare. The reporter reached his home that fateful Saturday at about 8am. A walk into his almost bare sitting-room found the sick Mukaila, sleeping in foetal form on a threadbare couch. Even in his sleeping state, he looked sick and pale.
The most arresting and valuable item in the sitting was his award, received from former Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), for gallantry and Service Excellence.
The award, lovingly framed in a glass, took pride of place in the house. His wife, Afisat Lamidi, who looked tired and broken, ushered the reporter further into the room.
She tried to shake him awake. “Wake up! Wake up! You have a visitor.”
Mukaila opened his eyes and stared groggily at everyone. The wife signed and said: “Since the sickness started, he has been losing his memories. When he talks sometimes, he doesn’t make sense. I was worried and scared, but I heard that’s what this kidney sickness does to people. We have spent everything! Right now, we’re looking up to God, Lagos State Government and well-meaning Nigerians to assist us.”
The reporter tried to engage the ailing man in a chat, but his responses sounded muddled. Afisat sighed loudly again, looked at the reporter, shrugged with a look that says, “What did I tell you?”
Within minutes, Mukaila said that he wanted to urinate. A young man, who had been sitting in the room and watching everything, quickly got up to assist him. Mukaila can no longer walk unaided. When he stood, it was like a gust of wind would blow him away. This was the same policeman that had confronted gang of militant bank robbers, earning him an award for gallantry.
Mukaila is attached to the Rapid Response Squad (RRS), Ikeja, Lagos State Police Command. He enlisted into the Police Force 1988. He is 59 years old.
It was early this year that his family discovered that Mukaila was always feeling feverish. They thought it was Malaria, but also felt it was becoming too constant.
Afisat recalled: “The whole thing started with just a fever. We went to Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta (FMC). When we got there, he was diagnosed of Kidney Failure. We started treatment in March. We’ve been going for dialysis since then. We were eventually told that we would need to take him for a kidney transplant.”
Afisat explained that Mukaila was on his sick bed when his promotion to the rank of an ASP was announced. The couple has five children, but none of them is financially capable of tackling their father’s failing health.
She said that whenever Mukaila’s salary comes, they quickly use it for his dialysis.
When Mukaila was first admitted in hospital, Afisat alerted his boss, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) in charge of RRS, Mr Olatunji Disu.
Afisat said that the man, on two different occasions assisted them with money from his personal account.
She said: “I went to his office to let them that he has health challenge. I went back a second time with an official letter, asking for financial assistance. At that point, I was praying that Governor Sanwo-Olu would help us. I heard then that the governor was not around. Disu later sent his assistant to come and check my husband at the hospital. Since then, we’ve not heard anything. We are spending too much on dialysis. The dialysis is three times in a week and each costs N50, 000. Meanwhile his salary is just N120, 000, which is what we use for his dialysis. I can’t even begin to recollect what we’ve spent on drugs. He used to get blood transfusion twice a week.”
Afisat said that it was Dr Adebsisi, working at FMC that assisted them in finding out the cost of the transplant in a hospital in Abuja. The cost was placed at N12million.
“I have borrowed money from cooperative to the tune of N1.5million because of my husband’s health. We have spent roughly N8million since March on his health. His salary couldn’t tackle the dialysis. Right now, we’re supposed to have gone for dialysis since two weeks, but we had no money.”
Mukaila is presently experiencing the other side of life. Indeed, he was one of the policemen that confronted a gang of robbers that stormed the then Oceanic Bank in 2009. The agile, ferocious lion has now become as weak as a kitten.
Afisat recounted: “My husband saved the bank. He didn’t allow the robbers to gain access into the bank. He was instructed to go to the scene of the robbery, right when the robbers were operating. The robbers came through the waterways. Police killed four among the robbers. In fact, an inspector was killed in that operation.”
Afisat, who said that Mukaila had fought criminals several times and came out a victor, recalled that some few years ago, militant pipeline vandals went to Igando to siphon fuel from vandalised NNPC lines. Mukaila was instructed to go to the place.
He and other policemen confronted the militants. It was a gruelling and bloody confrontation, which left Mukaila riddled with pellets, but the policemen defeated the militants. Mukaila was later taken to hospital, where the pellets were removed.
At the Agbado area of Lagos State, in 2002, robbers attacked and shot Mukaila on his shoulder and palm. He was rushed to hospital, where he battled for life and survived. Mukaila was back then like a cat with nine lives.
It was because of his outstanding gallantry during the Oceanic Bank Robbery, that Fashola picked an interest in his valour and thought it fitting to bequeath him with the Award for Gallantry and Service Excellence.
When our reporter contacted Disu on Mukaila’s case, he disclosed that the Lagos State Government, through its security trust fund, was already mapping out money to assist the sick Mukaila for a transplant. The money, however, is yet to be seen, while Mukaila still groans in pains and is getting weak every day.
Afisat said that she would be quite appreciative if well-meaning Nigerians can assist her to raise enough money for Mukaila’s weekly dialysis and kidney transplant. She said: “Right now, even N200 is not too much. If everyone gives of N200, N500 or N1000, it would amount to something when pooled. I just don’t know what else to do or who else to run to. I can’t sit down, watching my husband dying without doing something. I need help.”
Lamidi Mukailam A, FCMB: 2117869014