Leading Nigerian gender activist, Ene Ede, is in deep but subdued mourning of her only son, Edoka Onoja who died in cloudy circumstances in the early hours of Wednesday, January 19th, 2022. A roving police team picked the late Edoka from a spot at Area 1 Roundabout around 2 am on Wednesday morning. He was lying on a point at which he was obviously dropped by some people he must have been struggling with. It is possible they thought he was already dead or had been left where a vehicle would crush him and his death would look like an accident.
Surprisingly, no vehicle crushed him between when he was left there and when the police team picked him as he was still alive when the police picked and took him to the National Hospital in Abuja. It was he who gave the hospital operatives her mother’s number and that of two others to call. How he died rapidly afterwards is another puzzle waiting to be unearthed. He arrived the hospital with a wound on the head and on the limb, according to some of those who saw him closely enough.
Intervention learnt he was most likely to have been struggling with some people and which must have been the first time in his life. Otherwise, he has never known how to fight ever. He completely took after her mother, the one-woman ‘government’ through whom anything at all trickles down to hundreds of the real masses. Hers is an uncommon sense in empathy and pubic spiritedness which the late business minded son duplicated, supervising and improvising on the distribution of such essential items to those who would, otherwise, never get such items. Ene Ede’s basic honesty is so transparent that she is entrusted by those in position to coordinate redistribution.
Luckily, she has taken an activist view of the loss, understanding it as a test of her faith in society as well as a temptation. Those who go there expecting to see her weeping from one corner to the other would thus be disappointed. But many people who know the young man and her mother are not taking it lying low. For now, it is subdued morning over the one death that shows conclusively that no one, no time and nowhere is safe. And that no one can be careful enough.
A recent robbery in one of the most fortified spaces slightly off Agura Hotel shocked observers to the marrow. In the outskirts of Gwagwalada, Bwari, Kubwa, Karo and so, people are devising sundry strategies of coping with various dimensions of insecurity. The brazenness and the reaction time deficiency remain confounding. It is not that the security agencies are not trying. Within them could be found very brilliant and determined operatives but critics believe they are so few and far between. And the silent inference is “if Abuja is like this in insecurity, then what the situation is in many of the states can only be imagined.
The late Edoka was, for instance, understood to be on a small social outing up to 8 pm that night. How he might have fallen into the hands of plausible traducers thereafter and be half dead by midnight is the golden mystery now. It is made more mysterious in that no one is sure if the close-circuit cameras around the place were working and have picked any useful bits. His car is still missing.
It is lights out for the mother whom he is reportedly fond of assuring he would make her happy. But this loss is not her mothers. In a country and at a time when public spiritedness is such a scarce commodity, the real losers in Edoka’s death might be the multitude out there whose succor he helped the mother to coordinate without seeking to profit from.