18-year-old secondary school leaver and barber, Reuben Obadiah, was hit by a stray bullet during the, November 5, 2021 violent clash between loyalists of Gombe State Governor, Inuwa Yahaya, and Senator Danjuma Goje. The teenager speaks to CHIMA AZUBUIKE from his sick bed about the incident and his state of health
Please tell us about yourself.
I’m Reuben Obadiah. I’m an indigene of Gombe State. I’m 18 years old. I’m a student; I just finished my secondary school this year. I attended Gombe Science Secondary School, Billiri, but I’m working as a barber now.
You were injured during the fracas that happened on Friday, November 5, 2021 in Gombe town. Can you give us an account of what happened and how you landed in the hospital?
The incident happened around the evening time; I can’t really remember the exact time. I didn’t even know there was a crisis in the afternoon. If I knew I wouldn’t have come out. It was later that I heard that after the afternoon mayhem some groups engaged in a free-for-all.
I was in my shop, cutting hair when I suddenly heard the sound of a gunshot; and before I could ascertain what was happening, another gunshot followed. Then a bullet landed on my thigh. It then dawned on me that I had been wounded. I saw people running helter-skelter. I attempted to run too but I realised that I just couldn’t lift my leg. I was scared and really tried to run but in the process, I fell down to my knees.
What happened then?
While I was on the ground, I began to shout, telling people around that I had been shot. At first, nobody came near me, because everybody was afraid. Suddenly, one or two persons within the scampering crowd recognised me as the barber who usually cut their hair. That was my saving grace. They picked me up and immediately rushed me to the state Specialist Hospital Gombe to receive treatment.
What happened when you got to the hospital?
I was taken to the emergency ward of the state Specialist Hospital. I spent just one day there. The nurses dressed the gunshot wound and I was expecting a doctor to come and treat me, but unfortunately, there was no doctor to attend to me. Then, some persons said there was a need for me to have an X-ray. We later heard that the state Specialist Hospital’s X-ray machine was not functioning well and when they checked the X-ray unit on Saturday, it was discovered that the workers in the unit had not resumed to begin work. It was at that moment that I was taken to the Federal Teaching Hospital Gombe for the X-ray.
When we got there, the X-ray was done immediately and when the result came out, it was concluded that I had to return to state Specialist Hospital to continue treatment. On return to the state Specialist Hospital, I was told I needed to see an orthopaedic doctor. But I was later told that the orthopaedic doctor was on leave and I was referred to the place Federal Teaching Hospital Gombe.
Who has been paying the hospital bills?
I was told that the government will pay the bills. There was a second person, who was also injured; it was the two of us that were admitted for treatment and government is taking care of the bills. So, I want to appreciate the Governor of Gombe State, Muhammadu Yahaya, for ensuring I get this medical assistance. I owe my survival to God and I am grateful to the government for taking responsibility for my treatment.
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