The death of a 30-year-old British student while having an encounter with alleged politicians at the Lekki-Epe Expressway toll gate has created considerable interest and public sympathy.
On July 14, 2013, Aysha Hassan Asif arrived at the toll gate in a Renault Megane car with her supervisor.
The contract vehicle was stationed on the designated lane reserved for contractors from the construction firm Lekki Developments Limited. The area was under construction. There were different parties present and during the conversation, the contract vehicle proceeded to pull over in order to fill its tank with fuel and the assistant tried to join the petrol pump but found the pump was occupied. The assistant wanted to free the pump and the vehicles driver then entered the lane to drop the assistant at the next fuel pump. As per the concept of the project, the fuel pump was reserved for HSE contractor for only four hours. However, around 4.05pm the assistant informed Hassan that they would have to fill the tank immediately as the pipeline along the toll gate was leaking petrol. This is the period when Hassan climbed out of the car.
According to Hassan’s parents, her life ended as she tried to remove a chipboard from the side of the road in order to place a life jacket. She fell into a canal near the exit of the toll gate, where the water was still 6-8 feet deep. Her body was not found until 7.30pm that night. The body was washed out to the road as the waterway was blocked by the cranes and vehicles. Despite the presence of fire trucks, police and National Youth Service Corps members at the scene, no one had the courage to join Hassan.
The family filed a police report. The matter was first transferred to the IGP Area Command, and then to the Lagos State Police Command. At first, the patrol team found no movement in the murky water. Then a woman waded in. It was revealed that the woman was Ms. Asif’s mother. She told the police that she suspected the accident and jumped into the water. However, the police rescue team was frustrated by the sound of people shouting in the murky water. The mother was said to have held her daughter’s hand and began swimming towards the car but the women appeared disoriented by the wet and muddy water. The pair were taken to Igbosere police station in an ambulance.
Hassan’s friend, Sofia Anani, who was also at the toll gate on that day, could not understand what was happening to her friend. “I tried to call Aysha for a few minutes but couldn’t get a response. I begged her and finally gave up and went to see her mother in the Igbosere police station,” Anani said.
Aysha’s mother, Zarraiz Asif, told of her anguish that she and her husband spent the next twelve hours at the police station. She told of how she got to know her daughter had died while in her custody.
“I heard my husband shouting out that Aysha had passed away,” Zarraiz said. “So I ran outside and saw doctors performing CPR on my dead daughter. She was still breathing and then one police officer told me: ‘She died in your arms’. I couldn’t believe it,” she told the Daily Mail.
According to the Daily Mail, according to the Lagos Police, a post mortem conducted on Hassan’s body revealed that she had suffered a brain haemorrhage due to impact with the front of the front tyre. No further details could be ascertained about Hassan’s final moments and her friends were of the opinion that she was run over by a private car. Anani speculated that she may have been robbed of her car keys by the road side thieves and lost control of the vehicle. However, detectives said her family must await the results of an inquest into her death and undergo a psychiatric investigation before the police will disclose her cause of death.
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