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Adesanmi, Olakunrin, Adewura… shocking deaths of 2019

Adesanmi, Olakunrin, Adewura… shocking deaths of 2019
December 28
09:48 2019

The final year of the decade has just few days left. It, however, did not pass without cutting down some persons in their prime. Death, the inevitable, they say, shall visit all men; the people listed here had their own taste in the outgoing year.

In this piece, we highlight six Nigerians whose deaths were received with shock in 2019:



When Adesanmi posted a picture on Facebook on March 10, he probably did not know that he had just a few hours ahead of him. From a flight that was meant to take him to Nairobi, Kenya, for a meeting, the Nigerian-born Canadian professor “took the wings of the morning” to dwell forever with his Creator.

He and 148 other passengers, including Abiodun Bashua, another Nigerian, and crew members were consumed by the ill-fated Boeing 737 MAX 8 Ethiopian Airlines aircraft which lost contact with air traffic controllers six minutes after taking off.

Adesanmi was a native of Isanlu, in Yagba east local government area of Kogi state. Until his death, he was a professor of English at Carleton University, Canada. He was aged 47.



Olakunrin was heading to Lagos from Akure, Ondo state capital, on July 12 when she was shot dead at Ore, still in Ondo. The 58-year-old daughter of Reuben Fasoranti, Afenifere leader, was yet another victim of insecurity manifesting in many forms including insurgency, banditry, kidnapping in the country.

Olakunrin’s death sparked outrage, with perceived tendency to ignite reprisals. Yinka Odumakin, Afenifere spokesman, said the murder of Olakunrin was a declaration of war on the Yoruba people, blaming it on suspected herdsmen.


When he finally found his voice after many days in agony and shock, Fasoranti said though President Muhammadu Buhari called to sympathise with him, “all I need from the president is to find solutions to these killings in the country.”


When Adewura Bello, a 26-year-old accounting graduate of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) left her office in the Ikeja axis of Lagos after close of work on May 15, she had no idea that she would not make it home. It had rained and the roads were flooded. While others waited for the rain to subside, she boarded a motorcycle and was about five minutes away from home when the bike tripped and fell in the middle of a flooded area.


Unfortunately, Bello was swept away into an uncovered manhole and that was the last time she was seen alive.

Witnesses said they could not help her as the flood was massive. Her body was found inside a canal in Abule Odu Alimosho local government area of Lagos and she was buried at a private mortuary in the Agege area of the state.


Bello’s death sparked an outrage, especially on social media.



Death snatched Ndubisi-Chukwu away outside the shores of her fatherland. She was found dead at her hotel room in Johannesburg, South Africa, on June 12. She had gone to South Africa for the conference of the African Insurance Organisation (AIO) but was killed a day before she was to return to Nigeria. While Ndubuisi-Chukwu was initially believed to have died in her sleep, an autopsy report from South Africa’s department of home affairs showed that she died of “unnatural causes consistent with strangulation”.

Until her demise, Ndubuisi-Chukwu was the deputy director-general of Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN). Her death remains a mystery yet unsolved and it triggered thoughts that she was another victim of xenophobia.

The death toll of Nigerians killed in the country has been on the rise. Over 120 have lost their lives since 2016. Between April 6 and April 9, 2019, three Nigerians were killed at different locations in the country. In May, another was allegedly killed by South African police.


It was another ordinary day on March 31 and Johnson was in a bar, watching an English premiership match between Hotspur and Tottenham in the Onipetesi area of Lagos. He later heard the cry of a lady in the area and left the bar to offer help. At the scene of the pandemonium, Johnson was hit by a bullet fired by operatives of the police anti- cultism squad who were trying to disperse a crowd during the arrest of one Ismail, a video producer, who wore dreadlocks.

The police officers had suspected Ismail to be a criminal because of his hairstyle but Johnson and some others who knew Ismail engaged the policemen, asking what his crime was. The 35-year-old would later lie from the bullet lodged in his body two years after he arrived in Nigeria from South Africa where he survived the country’s xenophobic attacks.

Although his killer was arrested and dismissed from the force, the friends and loved ones are still mourning till date.


Oguche was a young and promising Nigerian youth whose life was cut short by the insecurity plaguing the country.

For the 27-year-old, it was an earthly holiday to an eternal one, a transition catalysed by crossfire between police officers and suspected bandits. Oguche and Faye Mooney, an official of Mercy Corps Nigeria, were holidaying at the Kajuru Castle in Kaduna state on April 19  when suspected bandits attacked the holiday resort.

Two mobile policemen guarding the facility were said to have prevented them from gaining access to the facility and the bandits started firing inside the castle. Both Oguche and Mooney, a Briton, lost their lives to the incident.

Like Mooney, Oduche was a humanitarian worker.

There were many shocking deaths in 2019; the list of those who were cut down in their prime in the outgoing year is inexhaustible.


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