Five months after his death, the body of Motunrayo Oguntuase was finally laid to rest at Kozma cemetery in Budapest on Friday May 12.

He died of pulmonary embolism, according to the autopsy carried out, which has fuelled suspicion among Nigerian community because it was done in the absence of the Nigerian embassy who had insisted having a pathologist present.

Motunrayo, 29, died January 1st after being restrained to the National Psychiatric Hospital in Budapest. The police said they picked him up on December 25 based on a phone call they received that a naked person was in the street. They claimed he displayed signs of aggression, mumbled incoherent words, which prompted the police to restrain him. He was said to have been taken to District 7 Police Station then to Jahn Ference General Hospital, and on the same day to the Hungarian National Psychiatric Hospital where he was diagnosed as a psychiatric. He was alleged to have vandalised things during his stay at the hospital. Meanwhile, the Nigerian consular said she was disappointed at the treatment given to the deceased while in hospital. 

Until his death, Motunrayo was a first year economic student at McDaniel College in Budapest with excellent academic performance (a Grade Point Average of 3.625 on a 4.0-point scale). "He was a smart, pleasant, friendly, polite and likeable person," said the Director of his college, Garbor Drexler who seemed to be "extremely distressed because we experienced no signs of any mental order".

Despite the result of the autopsy, the Nigerian community believes Oguntuase would have lived if he had been properly treated. They attribute his death to the negligence on the part of the hospital where he was admitted on that fateful day. They are curious as to why African doctors were not brought into the picture until he died. Furthermore, they insist on knowing what actually happened during his stay in the hospital.

 "There are funny inconsistencies between the police and hospital reports," said Anthony Idigbe, Director of International Student Union at Budapest Technical University. "We are entitled to know the truth. You can't just treat us like a goat had died. They should tell us what really happened during the time they restrained him at the hospital."

But Drexler dismissed such allegation as speculation, saying the hospital is a prestigious institution. "I don't think there was any negligence. They did their best as dim necessary. It's quite unfortunate and we were all shocked at the news of his death."

Some even questioned the rationale behind the police naked "theory", saying why the police didn't take pictures of his nakedness as evidence. However, Sandor Rethy, a solicitor appointed by the Nigerian embassy said on phone that the police report is a fact and not theory. Although "there is a serious investigation going on, it's not because of suspicion but procedure." He added that the investigation is for criminal clarity, and for any possible negligence.

However, a reliable source who is an expert said that such mental disorder shouldn't have led to death if properly taken care of. "I am not perfect but very rare in medicine and psychiatry for a young person of 29 to die from briefly deranged circumstances," he said. "The problem was the boy felt he was in a strange place; that everybody was against him, so the psychosis was already provoked. The most appropriate thing to do in such circumstances is to call any of the African doctors around. It could have helped."

Sandor agreed that Moturayo's death is not normal because mental disease does not result to death like internal disease. "It is unexpected death," he said.

Meanwhile, Emure-Ekiti born Motunrayo had no record of any mental problem, according to his sister, Wuraola Oguntuase who had flown from Britain to attend the funeral. A former part two medical student at Debrecen Medical University in Hungary, she said it's rare for pulmonary embolism to kill people especially at such tender age of 29. The medical report presented by Motunrayo from his country also shows no sign of mental disorder contrary to the hospital's claim. 

Wuraola was especially sad because of the uncooperative attitude of the Hungarian police. "They refused to talk to us," she said, tears forming in her eyes. "Though they are the ones who knew what happened. At least, it would have brought closure if we knew exactly what happened before he was even taken to the hospital."  Although Wuraola would love to see justice at its best, there is still a doubt in her mind regarding the outcome of the ongoing investigation, "because of the police nonchalant attitude". 

Asked whether she was satisfied with the way Nigerian embassy has been handling the whole thing, Wuraola said, "The area of investigation is lacking though I don't know if it is their fault, but they have been supportive in terms of communication and arrangement."

Up till now the Hungarian officials have not replied their Nigerian counterparts who seem to feel insulted and disturbed even though the case was "properly reported" to the appropriate quarters.

The Officiating Minister, Lanre Ogundipe, used the solemn moment to remind those at the funeral about the fact that we would all come to the terminal end. "Here he is returning to where he came from," he said, pointing to the coffin. "That is the end of our running around. It is a challenge for us that part of us is dedicated to God."

The head of the Chancery, Dedan Lot Madugu in his own eulogy said that although he did not know the deceased, he comported himself well in a foreign land. Peter Ihaza, Nigerian Union President in Hungary also described Motunrayo as a well-behaved Nigerian to be proud of.

"Is good education really worth it?" asks Anthony, who is devastated by the circumstances that led to Motunrayo's death. "It could be you next."

And I cried inward.


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