Controversy has continued to trail the #SaveMayowa campaign which has raised more than N32 million overseas medical fees for Mayowa Ahmed, a 31-year-old Ovarian cancer patient receiving treatment at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH).
News broke on Thursday that the campaign was a fraud. Linda Ikeji reported that “Mayowa and her family scammed kind hearted Nigerians”.
The police have now taken over the case amid the raging controversy. the police have ordered that the account be frozen for an investigation to be conducted.
Linda Ikeji had written:
Mayowa had reached stage 4 and doctors, unfortunately, already told her family she won’t survive it and had advised them to take her home. Her family instead used her situation to raise money from Nigerians. The doctors in LUTH have also denied giving her family a medical report advising her to seek treatment abroad.
That day, the social media erupted in anger and confusion. The police had to help in breaking a heated exchange outside the hospital between those who pushed the online campaign and the patient’s relatives.
There was a footage of actress, Toyin Aimakhu in tears, regretting that she was used to defraud Nigerians as she spearheaded the fundraising campaign.
Dolapo Badmus, the Lagos police spokesperson said:
“The Command wishes to inform all the good spirited people who had donated generously to this course that it will ensure it does not return as a hoax and every outcome of the investigation shall be made open”
Mayowa had a history and clinical features of an intra-abdominal mass, according to LUTH, where she was a patient.
She was brought to the hospital’s private wing on Monday, but barely 24 hours later, her family insisted on flying her outside the country, stalling “all the planned investigations meant to arrive at a definite diagnosis,” the LUTH said in a statement.
The hospital added:
“The family and the patient brought along some results of laboratory investigations ordered and done outside LUTH.
“Three different Specialists were invited to review Mayowa. The Gynaecologist, Oncologist and Haematologist all arrived at a tentative diagnosis of an abdominal malignancy.
“They planned to conduct a series of fresh tests to confirm the definitive diagnosis, since the earlier tests were neither requested nor authorised by any doctor from LUTH.”
According to Aramide Kasunmu, founder of Lifestake Foundation, a nongovernmental organisation which cordinated the social media campaign, Mayowa’s family said they had contacted Emory Hospital in US and needed $100,000 for overseas treatment.
She said in a Facebook video:
“I went on social media and Kate Henshaw was asking questions”
“She was saying ok where’s the visa? Where’s the ticket? Where’s this where’s that? And I’m like okay, that’s true, I haven’t even seen those things.
“So I went back to the Emory Hospital’s list to see exactly what it is that they wrote there. And I realised that what they said was a $100,000 deposit, and it will cost between 3,000 to 30,000 to get her treated. And she needs 10 to 50 sessions. So technically, Mayowa needs over 150 million to be treated if she has to be treated in Atlanta.
“But then when the doctor (at LUTH) said that she cannot fly, in his words she can’t even fly to Abuja let alone America, 13 hours. I said okay something isn’t adding up.
“And then on Monday, Toyin Aimakhu had gone up, it had gone viral and everything. And because I had posted it, I went on Facebook and I told my friends to not get me involved in anything that belongs to Mayowa, basically like a disclaimer.”
Ms. Kasunmu said she received a phone call from LUTH on Wednesday informing her that Ms. Ahmed was leaving the hospital.
“And I said how come? They said the family said they want to take her abroad. That she was flying yesterday (Wednesday) night, 6pm. Meanwhile they’d told Toyin Aimakhu that they were taking her to Reddington.”
“My concern is, I need to be sure that these people are actually getting Mayowa treated, that they are not just trying to take advantage of her situation, which is my fight. Because you got me involved, people are asking questions and I cannot answer. I sent Mayowa messages she wasn’t responding. I called her phones nobody was saying anything to me.”
On Thursday morning, Kasunmu said she asked a colleague to go to Mayowa’s home. She continued: “She got to the house and said there was nobody at home”
“She called the brother and they said they were at LUTH, she got to LUTH they did not let her see Mayowa, so she waited.
“I told her that she must wait, they said their brother came that they were bringing an air ambulance. We all know air ambulances are not cheap. I said ok that she must wait for that air ambulance, she must see the air ambulance take Mayowa and she must video it so that I can at least say you guys are asking me questions, see Mayowa she has travelled. That was my intention.
“Then she said her brother wasn’t talking to her, that the brother said they have given a statement and nobody should get involved in their case.
“I was like, we raised money from the public, we had stood in front for you guys, how can you guys say that we should no longer get involved? That was when the alarm bells went off.”
Kasunmu claimed further that the #SaveMayowa campaign raised N85 million, and not N30 million as claimed by the patient’s family.
“They said they have a visa when they didn’t have a visa. They solicited funds that they were going to America, now they are saying they are going to Dubai. A lot of things were not adding up and they were not being straightforward.”
Aimakhu corroborated Kasunmu’s story adding that things got dramatic on Thursday after the patient’s family insisted she leave the hospital despite her efforts in helping raise funds for treatment.
She told Y’Naija on Thursday:
“There’s nobody I didn’t call”
“(I) called E-Money, called Okorocha’s so, called AY, called everybody. Only for me to get here, after they’ve gotten the money….
“Something just came to my mind there is something, how can you help people raise money and you are saying…. no, there’s more to this.
“And yesterday, a lot of people called me, that they privatised their account. I had to call them that they should not put the account on private.
“They said I did not help her (Mayowa) to raise money, that I only came to visit her.”
— The_commentsection (@commentssession) July 28, 2016
But Kasunmu and Aimakhu have been accused of trying to hijack the campaign.
Kunle Oduah, a friend to Mayowa’s brother wrote on Facebook:
“Toyin Aimakhu and Aramide kasunmu of Lifestake foundation una weldone o!
“Tomorrow they will come and claim they are standing for woman rights.The fact behind the girl’s ordeal was that the lady called Aramide Kasunmu of Lifestake foundation approached the family that she is floating an NGO asked them to open the account on her foundation account and the family refused bluntly.
“She was the one that called Toyin Aimaku to appear at the hospital as a celebrity to boost the donation, with promise of giving her some incentives.That was why they were accusing the family of not let them to know how the money will be used. Toyin Aimakhu yeye drama queen came to the hospital blind drunk and untidy. Toyin is just a nuisance. Because you weren’t given access anymore then the hate? It just shows the videos she put up were just for publicity. Money can’t buy class. The conclusion will be clear to all soon. Toyin and Aramide wanted to run the show. They didn’t get that and used Linda to get back at them.
“You decided it was a scam then you went with mopol to the hospital to do what? Toyin told Linda the tale and she wanted to be the first to break it. Without consideration for all those involved, maybe they didn’t have a plan. Would you have predicted that they could raise ₦30million in three days? How is that scam? Common sense! You guys will believe what you want to believe anyways.
“Even if all she has is half a chance. Is any amount too much? People kept donating even when they already reached the target. That’s humanity. Those who did it did it sowed a seed of faith on her strength to pull through. Why try to ruin that? And most of this is caused by illiteracy.
“As for Linda Ikeji you need to invest more in investigative reporting, been the first to allege scam. Her defenders will soon come and ask me if I’ve eaten today. Shior”