By Eniola Akinkuotu/Punch
Prison authorities said Orji died Friday morning and the cause of death is unknown; but an autopsy is being performed.
The PUNCH had reported on April 13, 2012, that Orji’s health was deteriorating due to the refusal of psychiatric hospitals to take him in.
The Deputy Comptroller of the prison, Mr. Noel Ailewon, had said Orji was in a bad state and had gone completely mad.
“Orji’s health is getting worse. He has gone completely mad, vomiting and even defecating without restraint and is naked most of the time” he said
The Director of Office of the Public Defender, Mrs. Omotola Rotimi, had said during a visit to evaluate the number of Awaiting Trial Persons that following a court order, Orji was taken to two Psychiatric hospitals for treatment but had been rejected.
“Initially, we took Orji to Yaba Psychiatric Hospital but was rejected because they claimed they did not have long-term medical facilities. Subsequently, he was taken to another hospital in Ewekoro but was similarly rejected” she said.
It was learnt that due to this challenge, Orji, who was 46-years-old, could not stand trial in court.
The Attorney-General of the state, Mr. Ade Ipaye, had said Orji’s case was stalled due to the impediments, adding that unless Orji received proper medical attention, he would not stand trial.
“Orji is mentally disturbed and no hospital is accepting him. Unfortunately, one cannot be tried mentally stable, so, he’s stuck in the middle. All we can do now is find help for him” he said.
Orji was arrested in February 1999 by the police under the bridge along the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway. He was subsequently charged before an Ebute-Meta Magistrate’s Court on 19 February but was never tried.
The acting Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Prison command, Mr. Biyi Jeje, confirmed Orji’s death to our correspondent on the telephone.
“As at Thursday, Orji was fine but on Friday morning, he died in his sleep. The cause of his death is still unknown but an autopsy is being performed,” he said.
Jeje confirmed that Orji was rejected by many mental health facilities in the country and maintained that the prisons authorities did all it could to manage his illness.
“We took Orji to many health facilities but he was rejected time and time again. I don’t know why they rejected him but we did all we could to manage his illness”, he said.