A message advising Nigerians to take their bath with hot water mixed with salt in order to avoid the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) went viral overnight. The ‘salt antidote’ has claimed more lives than the dreaded disease itself. He was named Stephen Obadaye, but for those around him where he worked as a security man at an elite community called Millionaires Quarters in Jos, he was simply Papa. “Papa woke me up at 4.45 am that fateful night,” Obadaye’s colleague, Saidu Rumden, recalls, referring to the dawn of Friday, August 8, when the hype about drinking and bathing with salt and water solution to stave off the Ebola virus, was widely circulated. Rumden continues: “Papa came to my room to wake me up and to insist that I should mix salt in warm water, drink some and bath with the rest. ‘You should do it because that is what everybody is doing,’ Papa insisted. I told him not to worry as I would do it, and he left.” Rumden said Papa was so serious about the salt solution that he tried to wake up their boss and his family to be part of the salt solution train. “I told Papa to leave Oga and his family alone as they returned to Jos only hours earlier and needed rest,” Rumden recalls, explaining that this was the way he was able to stop Papa from waking their boss and his family from their sleep. Unknown to Papa, the salt solution he took with such enthusiasm to avoid death by Ebola infection was a death sentence that would be executed only hours later. “When everyone woke up at daybreak that Friday, I went to Papa’s room to tell him that he did not need to have bothered himself so much because the person who got nearly every Nigerian out of sleep to take salt had revealed herself as a joker,” Rumden said, adding that they left the matter at that point until about 10.30 that morning when Papa’s hour came. Recounting the sad end to Papa’s life, Rumden said: “At 10.30 that morning, Papa came out of his room. Incidentally, I was standing outside. When he saw me, he tried to call me, but apparently, he couldn’t open his mouth, so he motioned me to come. It was like he wanted to tell me that he wasn’t feeling well and he wanted us to discuss the problem in his room. As I walked towards him, Papa made to turn and to head back to his room, but in the process of attempting that, he fell.” Rumden said he and other people around the office got a vehicle, carried Papa and headed for the Bingham University Teaching Hospital, about 10 to 15 minutes’ drive away, but Papa died before they could reach the hospital. He added that, Papa who was 73 years old, was battling hypertension and ulcer. Rumden, who is a driver to one of the top executives of Moulds Nigeria Ltd, the Millionaires Quarters office and residence at which they both worked, said he knew Papa’s condition because he and the old man had both lived at the dual complex for years, he in one of the Boys Quarters and Papa in the security post at the entrance of the complex. Papa was buried in Jos on Thursday. A neighbour of late Papa, a woman called Mai Kunu because she sells locally made drinks at a house next to him, said Papa was told on phone that Ebola had come to Jos and he should boil water with salt, drink and bath with the solution as prevention, and to ensure that all the people around him did the same thing. “He moved round the compound insisting that all his colleagues should fetch water, put the salt, drink and bath with it.” Mai Kunu narrated, adding that: “Unfortunately, Papa forgot that he was hypertensive. I don’t know whether it was age or whether he was overwhelmed by the Ebola scare and he went ahead to drink salted water in spite of his condition.” Like the case of Papa, reports from states across Nigeria indicate that the salt therapy as an antidote to the Ebola virus kills faster than the actual disease itself.
- LinkedIn: Workers of the world, log in, unite
- Ebola: 4 more patients discharged in Lagos