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Update: ‘I dropped Italian picked in the airport at his house,’ Uber Driver narrates experience, visits LUTH

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OLUGBENGA Bodunrin, Uber Driver who reportedly picked an Italian at the Lagos airport has explained that the male foreigner that boarded his vehicle was actually taken to his house located in Oniru in Victoria Island, Lagos State, and not a hotel.

The story of Nigeria’s first COVID-19 case was officially made public yesterday by the Federal Ministry of Health and the Lagos State Government following the incident of an Italian man who entered the country on Tuesday and later tested positive for the virus.

But Bodunrin noted that the Italian he took has a family consisting of two boys and a Nigerian wife who lives with him at an undisclosed estate in Oniru.

He earlier posted on his twitter handle @boldjohnson07 affirming he picked an Italian, they dined and had a good conversation, in response to reports of government’s search of likely persons who might have been in contact with the announced case.

Bodunrin also dropped his mobile line in the tweet through which he was initially contacted but failed to respond. The Uber Service he works with was also contacted via two mobile lines – 0808 169 7334, 0808 169 7335 found on the website but they were switched off.

But on Saturday morning, he was again contacted by this reporter, where he shared his story.

He told The ICIR how he ought to convey the Italian all through his 20 days visit in Nigeria, until the man became unreachable after  the first COVID-19 case was reported in the media.

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“I picked him at about 5:30 pm on Wednesday from the airport. He told me himself he is an Italian that he just returned from Italy to meet his family here and he told me that he has a son and daughter in Italy that he is divorced, then remarried a Nigerian,” Bodunrin stated.

According to him, he had to take the Italian to the city mall from the airport before heading to Oniru where the man lives with his Nigerian family.

“From City Mall, Lagos Island, I took him home. So, I was in the car when he invited me upstairs to meet his family. That’s how I met his wife and we spoke in the Yoruba language.”

Narrating his story, Bodunrin said he spent time with the family until about 11 am when he left to return the next day.

However, his vehicle developed faults the next day and was unable to meet up with the appointment until about 3:00 pm in the evening. He claimed to have waited for an additional two hours hoping for their return by 6:00 pm but decided to leave after repeated calls to the Italian’s wife mobile line was unanswered.

“I called his wife’s line, it was showing line busy but I noticed she had blacklisted my number so I was unable to reach them.”

The ICIR asked why he could not call the man’s direct line since he picked him at the airport, but he responded that he was a linked pick him, not an Uber request.

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Bodunrin said he had to visit Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi Araba, at about 3:00 pm yesterday to meet with the doctors for possible tests to verify his status.

He added that he was placed on 14 days of surveillance while the State Security Service (SSS) also reached out to him with the advice to respond to further instructions from appropriate government authorities.

“They said the story is not in line with the person with Coronavirus. But they said they will put me on surveillance for 14 days, and check on me day-to-day to know how I’m feeling.”

He further added that he has been under threats and being receiving calls from the public,

“it is not a joke, they even promised to use voodoo on me.”

After the doctor’s visit, Bodunrin claimed his passenger who joined on the visit took a photograph of him and the doctor. “I tried to do twitter live stream but the calls prevented it from loading. I tried but when I later realised it failed, it was so painful.”

He also could not provide the photograph as at the time of this report, while the mobile line of the Italian’s wife still remain unreachable.

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The outbreak of Coronavirus has reportedly spread across the continents  of the world except for the Artic.

Since the outbreak in Nigeria, the Federal Government through the Health Ministry, and other partners have increased awareness of the deadly virus.

The public has been advised to also maintain good hygiene, do proper handwashing, use hand sanitizer among other preventive measures.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says over 20 vaccines are being developed globally, while it announced that 24 cases have been exported from Italy to 14 countries.

Author profile

Olugbenga is an Investigative Reporter with The ICIR. Do you have a scoop? Shoot him an email at oadanikin@icirnigeria.org. Twitter Handle: @OluAdanikin

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