Angel of death visits Nollywood

The Nigeria film industry, popularly called Nollywood, could pass for a place visited by angel of death. Like Egypt, during the days of the plague, the industry has witnessed many deaths, to the extent that many are not only wondering what’s going on but also afraid.

At the last count, no fewer than about 10 actors and actresses, both popular and obscure, have died. The rate of death is like in the ratio of one death per month.

Checks revealed that the following actors/actresses, among others have died:

David Ihezie:

He was a veteran actor, who died in his Enugu base after a short battle with Arthritis on January 19. He was in his 70s.

Brown Atienwen:

Popular Benin-based seasoned Nollywood actor and staff of the Edo State’s Ministry of Arts, Culture Tourism, died at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH). He was unable to pay the sum of N150,000 for a major operation. The cause of his illness was unknown. He died in October.

Pete Eneh:

Sometime this month, news filtered in that veteran actor, Eneh, died after suffering from protracted illness, which culminated in the amputation of his leg. The actor, who was diabetic, sustained some kind of injury last year, which degenerated to a sore and refused to heal. He spent three months at the hospital before he was advised to amputate the leg to avoid the infection spreading to other parts of his body. The amputation took place on Wednesday, October 24, after all efforts to save the leg was unsuccessful.

Lekan ‘Lekinson’ Oladipupo:

Popularly known in the Yoruba genre of Nollywood as Georgio Lekinson, Oladipupo died on January 24 in Osogbo, Osun State , while battling a heart related illness.


Yoruba comic actor, Hammed Odunla, better known as Dento, also succumbed to the power of death on Monday, August 6, after months of battling with stroke.

Cassandra Gabriel:

Fast rising actress, Cassandra, otherwise known as Sisi Caro in a popular situational comedy, Face2Face, passed on recently due to complications from an illness suspected to be cancer.

Akin Ogungbe:

Veteran Yoruba actor, Akin Ogungbe, popularly known in the industry as Ireke Onibudo, died on November 28 at his Iberekodo residence, in Abeokuta, Ogun State. He was aged 78. According to one his sons, Femi Abiola Ogungbe, his father was not ill but died of old age. The actor was the founder of National Association of Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP) and the oldest actor in the Yoruba film industry. He is survived by 15 widows with over 40 children and numerous grand children.

Enebeli Elebuwa:

It was a sad Wednesday morning this week, when the death of veteran actor, Enebeli Elebuwa hit tinsel town. The actor, who had been bedridden with stroke for two years, died in an Indian hospital in New Delhi. It was reported that his health deteriorated when he couldn’t afford to receive medical attention. It was also gathered that the stroke came as a result of uncontrolled hypertension and diabetes mellitus, which also affected his brain.

What’s amiss?

With the number of casualties in this league, it is instructive to note that the major ailments were either stroke, diabetes or heart related issues.

Meanwhile, medical experts have proffered reasons as many Nollywood VIPs have been kicking the bucket in recent times.

Meanwhile, medical experts have proffered solutions to the rising number of deaths in the film industry.

According to Dr. Justin Ihejieto of St. James Hospital, Olodi Apapa, the avalanche of deaths in the industry was a multi-factorial issue.

“It is not really a behavioural lifestyle problem, though it is a factor. Excessive alcohol intake, irregular eating pattern, weight gain, lack of exercise, lack of check up and so on may be responsible. Most Nigerians no longer do exercises. Since most of them are busy going from one location to another, they do not bother to go to the hospital for check up at least once a year; so the accumulation of all of these and more could possibly cause health hazards.

“Again, many of us no longer bother to check our heart conditions, thus anybody can get any cardiac challenge anytime. If detected at an early stage, it could be managed but can our health services manage it? That is why people are flown abroad. Also, where is the money to fly them abroad? It is expensive. Look at Enebeli Elebuwa. He doesn’t even have money to be flown abroad for treatment. The country cannot boast of these medical facilities. Even doctors are a part of the problem.”

Corroborating Ihejieto’s postulation, consultant orthopaedic and trauma surgeon, Dr. Osagie Anthony, said: “The heart naturally, is a very resilient organ. It is the driving engine of the body. It can try to compensate, but when it gets to a point, it cannot cope anymore. In the early stage of any heart related ailment, you can try to revert to acceptable functional level. People should just live a healthy lifestyle.”

Other actors/actresses who are ill:

At present, great thespians, such as Peter Bruno, Ngozi Nwosu, Ifeanyi Dike, Prince Uche, Emma Edokpai, Victor Eze, who acted the role of Alika in the rested Fuji House of Commotion, are currently battling with stroke, diabetes and heart related problems.



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