As Nigerian radio listeners come to terms with the sudden death of Tosyn Bucknor, one of the most beloved media personalities on air; reports reaching us have it that the University of Lagos law graduate succumbed to a major sickle cell crisis that struck her in the last three weeks.
Born Oluwatosin Abisona Bucknor on August 15 1981, Tosyn was born with the sickle cell disease and she battled with the condition all her life. She often spoke publicly and candidly about the struggles of living with sickle cell anaemia. She was not only a radio presenter, but she was also an all-around media professional, singer, songwriter, lawyer, actress and activist.
A colleague of hers (who requested not to be named as Inspiration FM where she worked had issued a statement declining to comment) told us exclusively that the last three weeks were the most challenging of her life which ultimately took her.
Speaking in a dispirited voice, he said “It is a difficult time for every one of us at Inspiration FM because we did not see it coming. The last time she was here was three weeks ago. She had been excused from work because she had another crisis but we thought she would pull through as she usually did, but we did not know that was the last time we would see her.”
Patients who have from sickle cell periodically have “crises” where they suffer a wide range of conditions and takes between a few days to weeks.
Each year, more than 100,000 children are born with SCD and Nigeria is said to have one of the highest prevalence of the disease.
Fully aware of her condition, Tosyn was a dogged fighter. She started THESE GENES in 2007, a project designed to help people with sickle cell disease to provide support for one another. Her death from the complications shocked many Nigerians who had come into contact with her at different times.
The fact that she was home alone while her husband went to work led her colleague to believe that she was getting better and would soon be back at work. Sadly, on the night of Monday 19th November, her husband came home to find her lifeless body.
Her colleague further said, “My heart bleeds and the tears are flowing uncontrollably because I’ll miss you so much, But at the same time I rejoice because I know that she is with Jesus and we will see again.”
When asked the kind of person she was, our well-placed source said “Tosyn was the sweetest soul ever. She was the kind of friend who looked out for everybody because she had a large heart, and as a result of that, everybody loved her. I hope and pray that God will give her husband and sister the fortitude to bear this loss.”
It’s a loss that will be deeply felt her family, made worse by the fact that their father, Segun Bucknor died just over a year ago. In a sole Instagram post, her elder sister Funke Bucknor-Obruthe confirmed that she died of sickle cell complications. Also heartbroken is her husband of three years, Aurelien Boyer who is said to be completely distraught at the death of his wife.
Meanwhile, her former employer, Inspiration FM has reacted to the death of a member of their staff, popular On Air Personality, Oluwatosin ‘Tosyn’ Bucknor.
Confirming the incident, Inspiration FM tweeted, “On behalf of IFM and all the OAPS we regret to announce that our sister friend and family member Tosyn Bucknor has passed on.”
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Popular Nigerian DJ, Switch, has opened up on what happened in Lekki on Tuesday night.
Known as Obianuju Catherine Udeh, Switch said she counted 15 dead bodies during the shoot-out.
In a video she posted on her Instagram page, Switch asked the authorities not to insult the intelligence of Nigerians when giving their own account of what happened on that day.
According to her, the military aimed at endsars protesters as they fired gunshots. She also said that SARS officers came in after the military had left and also attacked them.
According to Switch she and others present counted over 15 bodies.
‘‘I just want to clear a few things that I have been seeing online. To our leaders, I urge you please do not minimize the suffering of families. Do not insult the grief of Nigerians, do not insult the intelligence of Nigerians. Do not insult the pains the families are facing.
People were falling left and right. Yes there were soldiers there. Another part that people are not talking about is that the police also came. The SARS people we are talking about, they also came, some maybe 40-45 minutes after the soldiers left.
We were teargassed. The teargass was like Cotonou pepper mixed with acid. We were running. We would run and we would come back and the only thing we fought with was our flags. We would sit on the floor and we would raise or hands up, raising our flags and singing the national anthem. That was all we had.
They put off the lights. Even if there was no power in that axis, there was always light at the tollgate. There was no lights. The street lights were off. It was pitch black.” she said
Speaking further, she said
”A boy jumped on me and was shouting cover her, cover her. I didn’t even understand why he did that. They shot that boy on my back. I fell and while the soldiers were picking their shells, we were running around and picking their shells too because we wanted proof.”
She showed photos of bullet shells picked from the ground. She showed the one that was fired close to her ears and the one that was removed from someone’s lap.
The military, they were there on Nigerian soil, killing Nigerian citizens. The police and their SARS like people came doing the same thing, aiming and shooting. They were pointing the gun at us and shooting live bullets. Who takes live bullets to a protest?
To our leaders, I urge you to please not insult the intelligence of Nigerians and the families.”
DJ Switch expressed regrets that she and others allowed the military to take the bodies of the deceased persons.
”Something I think of in hindsight I wish we hadn’t done it but we carried dead bodies and dropped at the feet of the soldiers so that they could see what they did to us. When I asked their unit commander why are you killing us? I wish we didn’t do that because they ended up throwing the bodies in their van. This was up until the next morning.” she said
She dissociated herself from the social media accounts claiming she said 78 persons died. She said she and others counted 15 dead bodies.
”I never said 78 people died. What I do know is that when I was doing the live, 7 people had died. When my phone died, we had counted about 15 people. I don’t know if it was more than that. We had a lot of people stray bullet wound, gunshot wounds, and all that.
People did die. It wasn’t photoshopped. I must be a tech genius to photoshop a live feed.” she said
She dismissed reports that her cousin died in the incident.
Thanking everyone for their prayers and support, DJ Switch said
”We must continue to move. We must continue. If we stop I fear it will probably be the next 60 years before we talk about this again. We must continue peacefully. I condemn any sort of violence. I condemn the burning of buses and peoples livelihood. ”
Popular music entertainer, Burna Boy has stated that if the recent end SARS protest by Nigerian youths doesn’t yield any positive result, then the future holds nothing for the teeming youths in the country.
The ‘On the low’ crooner stated this in an interview with foreign media, Sky News.
The interview comes two weeks after protests began, sparked by a video showing a man being beaten, apparently by police officers from SARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squad).
Burna Boy, who spoke to Sky News from London, said: “It is shocking when you see it happen in that place, in such a place, that was the landmark of everything.
“The Lekki Toll Gate, that was the most peaceful place to protest, the most peaceful venue in the whole country and then that is the place where [the shootings] happen. It is not something that you can just wrap your head around.”
The best-selling Afrobeats artist, who has mixed rap, funk and dancehall influences on international hits like On The Low and Ye, said nationwide protests against SARS have changed the nature of politics in his homeland.
“This is the most important moment in Nigeria’s history… that is what we are witnessing right now because if nothing changes after this, if this doesn’t work, then it is over.”
When asked what he meant by this, he replied: “Look at what is going on right now: the youth have come together, like something unexplainable (sic), something that no one man could have possibly organised or led, the youth of the largest black nation in the world came together, said enough is enough and this was triggered by police brutality.
“It’s not like it was triggered by all the other things that it should have been triggered by all these years.”