Family desperate for answers after 30-year-old man dies of ‘inhaled carbon monoxide’

Saara Azeez’s Facebook post on Tuesday will bring to mind the summer of 2018 for many. For Saara Azeez, however, the news was truly awful. Shortly after her trip to the Lekki toll gate in Lagos, a man came up to her and told her the good news – her son’s body was returned home 12 hours later. He died of “inhaled carbon monoxide.” Twelve months on, and her family still doesn’t know what exactly caused Saara’s 30-year-old son, Hussain Saieed, to be killed that day.

“I was in shock,” Saara told News24. “We all kept saying, ‘That’s not right.’ They gave me a positive ID card but I was never given the title of [Hussain’s] father. It broke my heart.”

Saeed was an engineer based in Lagos but was visiting Pakistan for a wedding. While in the vehicle, Saeed was suffering from stress and vomiting. Upon returning to Nigeria, relatives noticed he’d fallen ill. Someone rushed him to the hospital but Saeed was pronounced dead upon arrival.

The initial investigation was held in relative secrecy, with the office stating that their team “did not observe any smoking car and it was foggy out.” However, during a recent trip to Pakistan, Saeed’s mother, whose last name has not been released by officials, was given a number for a medical examiner, along with the hospital where her son was reportedly treated. Officials there have confirmed that the car was not stolen and noted that no car was destroyed during the accident. In addition, they didn’t believe the car had been hacked and could say with certainty that no carbon monoxide was a factor in Saeed’s death.

Still, Saeed’s family remain suspicious. “He never vomited,” his mother said. “If he’d passed out and stopped breathing, he wouldn’t have been able to choke and die like that. They couldn’t give us any answer. Nobody knows the truth. They’re making it difficult.”

According to Saeed’s uncle, who speaks on condition of anonymity, the family doesn’t trust the medical examiner’s office because of previous conflicts and unanswered questions they’ve faced. The family suspects that the accident could have been result of a medical emergency.

Saeed’s older brother, Ekhlaq Azeez, said that officials in Pakistan were “being very supportive” and that the family has not yet received any compensation. “If we have to take legal action against the state, then we are ready to do so,” Azeez said.

Saeed’s family plans to consult an attorney once it’s revealed what actually caused Hussain’s death. Meanwhile, they continue to grieve for his loss. “My son died in my arms,” Saara said. “I don’t even know why I was given that ID card.”


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