The 53-year old former employee of defunct Hallmark Bank Plc., Olubiyi Odunaro who went on hunger strike to protest the non-payment of his terminal benefits, has suspended the strike which lasted for 14 days.
This couldn’t have been possible without the spirited efforts of a representation from the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, and officials from the Lagos office of the Public Complaints Commission.
Senior Special Assistant to Fashola on Justice Sector Reforms, Lanre Akinsola, who led a team of legal, welfare and medical officials to the tent Odunaro had turned to his home on Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Lagos, promised to intervene.
The state government said it didn’t want a ‘dead casualty’ on its hands even as it promised free legal services to Odunaro in case there was no head way in negotiations.
John Ogunniyi, who led a legal team from the Public Complaints Commission, implored Odunaro to end the hunger strike as it feared the implications on his health and other negative consequences it may have on him.
Ogunniyi gave the defiant Odunaro the Lagos Commissioner of the Public Complaints Commission, Funso Olukoga’s word that all would be done to ensure that ‘the matter is resolved.’
After persuasion and engagement by the state officials and consultation with members of the Association of Ex-Staff of Non-Consolidated Bank, who had gathered at the site which lasted for about three hours, Odunaro who clocked 53 on Monday announced the suspension of the protest.
While announcing the suspension to allow the state government wade into the matter, Odunaro however hinted that he could return back to the streets and to his hunger strike if the impasse wasn’t quickly resolved.
According to him, “in view of this, I announce the suspension of my hunger strike for two weeks to enable me to go for medical treatment and allow the state government play its part in this debacle.”
The Lagos State Ambulance Service with a medical team who had been on stand by for hours, led him into an ambulance marked LA 167 A08 at about 3:09pm immediately he announced the suspension and took him to the Medical Emergency of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital for medical attention.