Samuel Adegoke foamed in the mouth and nostrils as he groaned with pain and rolled on the floor, regretting his hasty decision to consume a bottle of a popular insecticide.
While he screamed for help, his friends surrounded him and tried to rush him to a hospital for medical help.
However, it was already too late, as the insecticide had damaged his vital organs beyond remedy.
Adegoke, a 200-level student of Electrical Electronic at the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, Ogun State, bought the insecticide from a patent medicine store after losing his school fees and those of his friend to online sports betting.
The 22-year-old died on the day he was supposed to sit his first semester exam in the second year of his academic programme.
The deceased was said to be an heir to the throne of a town in Osun State.
Saturday PUNCH gathered that Adegoke had two roommates, Jacob Israel and Mustapha Olaniyi, squatting with him in his apartment outside the school premises.
Olaniyi, who spoke to our correspondent, alleged that the deceased was addicted to betting.
He said, “Samuel (Adegoke) was a quiet person; he hardly talked. He read a lot, he would not sleep at night; he would always go for night reading, leaving home in the evening and coming back in the morning. But he liked betting and had lost a lot of money to it in the past.”
Prior to the fateful day, Adegoke was reported to have used his school fees to bet but lost.
Apparently, in a bid to recoup the funds, he reportedly tricked one of his roommates, Israel, got hold of his phone and withdrew N60,000 from his bank account.
Our correspondent gathered that Adegoke and Israel were close friends, who met after their admission into the polytechnic.
Further investigation showed that the victim took Israel to his hometown in Osun State to introduce him to his parents.
His parents were said to have treated Israel as their child, as they extended whatever they bought for their son to him as well.
Narrating what led to Adegoke’s death, Israel said, “What happened was that in the morning of the incident, we were coming from a night class. I received an alert my daddy, sent to me as my school fees; N100,000. It was around 5:43am. Samuel (Adegoke), being my close friend, I showed him, because he told me that his dad sent his own since but I was not aware.
“We went home together. I slept in the room, he went to the other room because we were living in a two-room apartment. Later, he came back to the room, woke me up and asked me to give him my phone. I gave him the phone because he was my close friend. He withdrew N100,000 from my account because he knew my PIN. Because he was my best friend, I opened up to him.
“I did not know that he had withdrawn money from my account. After some hours, I told him I wanted to go to school to pay my school fees and asked we should go together. As we were going to the school, he was still with my phone. When we got to the school market, I asked for my phone; that was when he told me that he had used my money for betting.
“I collected my phone and confirmed that he had withdrawn N100,000 from my account and I saw it that he used it to play sport betting.
“He was having an exam that day; I did not have any that day. He went for the exam without paying the school fees. Later, he called me that they sent him out of the exam hall because of the school fees; I was at home when he called me. When he got back home, he met me and Olaniyi, and explained what happened to Olaniyi.
“I was advised to call his parents and tell them, or I should go to the DSA office to report; I knew the implication. I said I would give him more time.
“I later called his parents and told them what happened. I called his mum, who said she could not afford it. His mum advised me to sell his clothes and phone to recoup my money.
“I made the call outside, not in his presence. I went back inside and told him I had called his parents. He begged me to call his mum back and tell her not to tell his dad and when I called his mum back, she did not answer my call.
“After a while, he went out. We didn’t know where he went to; after some minutes, we looked for him and met him on the way where we used to buy medicine. I then asked him if he had found a solution; he did not answer me. He just left me and went inside the room.
“We did not see anything on him; we did not know he had bought an insecticide from a woman. So, after some minutes, like 20 minutes later, one of our neighbours called us that someone was crying inside. We quickly rushed into the house to check on him. I found him on the floor vomiting foam in his mouth and nostrils.
“The person we got the apartment from was around, so I quickly rushed to call the man that Samuel was vomiting foam. The man rushed and gave him palm oil, maybe that one will stop it.
“The man told me to look for a bike to take him to a hospital. We took him to the school clinic, but the clinic could not attend to him because his condition was critical, so we had to take him out of the school clinic to another hospital. Getting to Hosanna Hospital, he was admitted and treated but he could not make it. He was pronounced dead.”
Describing Adegoke, Israel said apart from his addiction to betting, he was a “good guy.”
“I was not expecting that to happen. He was a very wonderful person; he was like a brother to me. I don’t even know that he could use my money for betting,” he added.
Olaniyi, on his part, said he was in the room when Adegoke collected Israel’s phone.
He noted that he had to intervene when the issue escalated.
The roommate, however, said it was not the first time the deceased would use his school fees to bet and at the end, lose all his money.
He said, “During his first semester on campus, as a fresher, he used his school fees to bet, but he was rescued by his parents who paid another money before he was allowed to sit the exam.
“We saw him on the floor; foam was already coming out of his mouth and nostrils.
“I was not even taking him seriously. I was asking him what was wrong with him. I also asked him what he ate; I told him to stand up. We didn’t know that he had taken something harmful. And when we realised he had taken poison, we took him to the school clinic.”
The Medical Director of Hosanna Specialist Hospital, Ilaro, Dr Kunle Obadina, said Adegoke was brought to the hospital late.
The trauma surgeon explained that the test carried out on him showed that he was brought in brain dead.
The doctor said Adegoke drank an insecticide that was highly dangerous and had been banned by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control since 2019.
He expressed concern on how the student had access to the toxic substance, highlighting the importance of stricter control measures.
Obadina said, “Despite our efforts to administer antidotes, it was too late. The material he ingested was one of the most poisonous insecticides containing potassium bromide, which rapidly enters the bloodstream and paralyses the brain.
“We would have used methods such as stomach pumping and washing and administering activated charcoal to counteract its effects if he had been brought to the hospital on time.
“However, once it enters the bloodstream and reaches the brain, the chances of successful treatment decrease significantly.”
Describing the excruciating effects of the insecticide, the doctor emphasised that its ingestion was perilous.
“One should never consume such a substance. It can cause severe harm and, in some cases, lead to fatality.
“If the substance is evacuated from the body soon after ingestion and the individual reaches the hospital promptly, we can attempt to neutralise it,” he added.
Speaking on suicide, Obadina stressed the importance of seeking help when faced with overwhelming challenges.
He said, “Suicide is a sinful act, and it does not solve the problems at hand; instead, it creates more problems for others.
“There is always someone who can offer assistance. Financial stress or other difficulties can be overcome with the right support system in place. Taking one’s life should never be seen as a solution.”
The Director of Student Affairs of the polytechnic, Joshua Omowunmi, expressed shock over the incident.
The DSA said he had a close connection with Adegoke due to the latter’s involvement with the Scrabble activities of the institution.
He said, “I received the news with shock because I knew the boy. He used to be a Scrabble player in the school, so, when I heard the news, it was a huge shock to me.”
Highlighting the incident as a lesson, Omowunmi emphasised the need to address the moral drift in society.
He said, “It’s a great lesson for society because it is a clear indication that society is drifting away from moral values. If a student can use his school fees and those of his friend for gambling, it shows a high level of moral decadence.
“The parents and the institution both have their responsibilities for these children. When they leave home and come to us, it becomes our responsibility to continue from where they left off. That is the reason for everything we do.”
The Rector of the institution, Dr Mukaila Ayinde, said efforts by the school to save the student were futile.
He noted that Adegoke was initially found ill and rushed to the institution’s medical centre.
“Recognising the severity of the situation, he was subsequently transferred to Hosanna Hospital, accompanied by the medical director of FPI.
“Tragically, on the following morning, I received a call from the DSA informing me of the student’s demise.
“The information we received indicated that the student committed suicide,” he added.
The rector expressed concern over the lack of communication about the student’s previous gambling activities and urged parents to promptly report such incidents to the institution.
He explained that early intervention and support could have prevented the tragic outcome.
Ayinde said during investigation, an official from the DSA’s office discovered a container of a popular insecticide beside the student’s bed.
Further examination confirmed that the student drank it.
The rector said the parents of the late student, upon receiving the information, went to the school but rejected his corpse.
He explained that the deceased’s father said he could not take his son’s body back home, urging the school management to bury him.
Speaking on measures to mitigate the betting lifestyle of students, Ayinde said the management had engaged in various initiatives, including talks by experts from the Guardian and Counseling Unit, engagements with officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency and collaboration with the Women in Technical Education in Nigeria Association.
He, however, blamed some of the vices on the percentage of students living off campus.
He said, “We must address the issue of parenting and the role it plays in shaping students’ lives. Parental guidance and support are crucial in preventing such incidents.
“We will continue to collaborate with law enforcement agencies and enhance our educational programmes to ensure the holistic well-being of our students.
“We, therefore, express deep sorrow over the loss of the student and extend our condolences to his family and friends.”