With tears in my eyes, l pen these words. Many brave heroes we’ve read about and some we watched in movies, but none comes close to what this blessed warrior, Dongo, did in Papa Ajao, Mushin on the 26th of May 2024.
It’s no longer news that a Mosque collapsed in Mushin last week Sunday, and the Deputy Governor Obafemi Hamzat visited the site two days ago.

It was on a hot Sunday afternoon when an excavator, that was working beside the mosque, caused a collapse of the building, in there we had close to 50 worshippers, who just finished praying Salatul Dhur. Under the ashen sky dust and chaos reigned supreme. The mosque, once a proud testament to our grandfather’s achievement in Papa Ajao lay in ruins, its skeletal remains jutting out like broken bones with sharp edges. Shattered glass and twisted metal littered the ground while mother’s and children were trapped under it screaming for help, a gloomy reminder of a twisted fate.

In the midst of this devastation, a lone figure was under the rubbles creating pathways for people to get out safely. His name was Dongo, a popular guy who has been helping people fetch water for almost 3 decades in Papa Ajao, Mushin.

Being a normal Hausa man he bore no grand title or royal lineage, but he was a hero in every sense of the word. Clad in the humble garb of a normal clothes, Dongo’s presence was a beacon of hope amid the encroaching darkness of hopelessness.

Many of us would have thought to escape and be safe, one man left his 3-4 years old daughter and ran out but luckily for him his daughter was later rescued alive. Amidst the cry, people were coming out and immediately rushed to the hospital. Unbeknownst to us, Dongo was the person under helping people out swallowed by sharp iron and heavy pillars, a warrior wounded but not yet dead.

Again and again, Dongo continued pulling survivors from the clutches of death. His hands, raw and bleeding, he worked with unwavering precision, his mind focused solely on the lives that hung in the thin thread. Time lost its meaning as he toiled, to him the world outside became a distant memory.

Hours later, everyone was rushed to the hospital, the excavator started pulling away the debris making sure there was no human left under the heavy metals and concrete, every male there present worked tirelessly and streaked with dust and sweat, we bore the marks of exhaustion, but our eyes shone with a quiet triumph.

The crowd that had gathered were static, bemoaning the tragedy but at the same time praising God Almighty that almost everyone survived, a chorus of gratitude and relief. But with heavy heart and teary eyes for the young girl that couldn’t come out alive. The Hausas present were asking about Dongo, but we were told that he had been rushed to the hospital.
In the days that followed, Dongo was nowhere to be found. On Thursday 30th of May 2024 the stories of Dongo’s bravery spread like wildfire. The survivors had regained themselves and they started narrating how Dongo was pushing them out to safety.

An odd smell started emanating from the place, now it was clear that somebody was remaining there. few hours after the Deputy Governor of Lagos state left the site, Dongo was found with his hand covering his face five days after the incident.

I’ll like to end on this note. I want us to see Dongo as a symbol of hope and resilience, a reminder of the extraordinary strength that lies within every one of us. Yet, Dongo, he had done only what needed to be done, driven by a duty that transcended fear.

In our city Mushin, marred by tragedy, Dongo’s actions illuminated the path forward, a testament to the enduring power of the human spirit. He was a hero not because he sought glory, but because he answered the call when it mattered most, his courage and compassion carving a legacy that should never be forgotten in Nigeria.


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