John Okafor is one of the liveliest persons you’ll meet in real life. Apart from his hilarious roles in movies, the Nollywood actor has a great sense of comedy in person.
However, Mr. Ibu (as he’s popularly known) has one regret that comes to haunt his memories all the time: The actor lost his son in a controversial and seemingly avoidable circumstances at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Lagos State in 2011.
Recounting how the drama played out, Mr. Ibu said in an interview during the weekend:
“The matter was actually between the Paediatric Department of the hospital and me. It was in 2011. My wife and our two-year-old son had been kidnapped. After I paid the ransom demanded and they were released by the kidnappers, I returned to Lagos from Enugu.
“Then on January 18, 2011, my son fell ill. He was diagnosed with inflammation of the liver. The hospital suggested that he should be scanned. At the same time, I was informed that I could take my son out of the hospital to get the scan done elsewhere. But the same people later declined, saying that everything had to be done in the hospital because he was too weak to be taken outside.
“After a while, I was told that there was no electricity in the hospital. When I asked if there was no standby generator, they said there was no fuel in it. I offered to pay for fuel only to be told that the man that operated the generator was not around. When I left the place and got back later, the man still had not returned. Then I was advised to write an application and to submit to the admin department.”
“After writing the application, I found that there was nobody to receive and treat it. While I was waiting, I was told that his son’s condition required blood transfusion. I did everything possible to ensure that the ailing boy was given treatment at the hospital, but my efforts were in vain. Finally, the little boy gave up the ghost.
“That was how my son died. Later, one of the doctors came to me and, without even sympathising with me, asked if I could release my boy’s corpse to him so that they could cut it open and use it to teach other medical students. In that moment, I felt like committing murder for the first time in my life.
“When I told my lawyer what happened at the hospital, he was shocked. He said it was actionable. I told him that I was ready to take the hospital management to court and sue it for $100 million in damages because my son’s death was caused by the carelessness of the professionals whose duty was to save his life. But my lawyer advised me to let go.”