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Dr. Olawunmi Thorpe, Nigerian PhD Holder Who Lives On Refuse Dump Dies In Lagos

Dr Olawunmi Thorpe phd holder refuse dump

Nov 7, 2012 – Dr. Olawunmi Thorpe, Nigerian PhD Holder Who Lives On Refuse Dump Dies In Lagos

It is indeed tragic that such could happen in this country. What exactly happened to Dr. Olawunmi Thorpe, an Ogun State indigene, who died a homeless man, may never be known.

To passersby and residents, who saw Thorpe everyday in the rubbish dump beside the rail line at Fagba Bus Stop in Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government Area of Lagos State, he was a deranged man. But what many people did not know was that…

Thorpe had a Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Mass Communication and a PhD in English Language. All these information came to light when the Punch got information that the “mad man” who spoke impeccable English had died about 5pm Wednesday last week.

It took two ‘good Samaritans’, Mr. Larry Happiday and Mr. Dele Olawale, who had interest in Thorpe’s case before he died, to ensure that his body did not rot on the same rubbish dump he used as home.

When the two men were asked how they knew Thorpe and their efforts at helping him before he died, Happiday said he first met the deceased about a year ago.

He said, “I began noticing him around Fagba about a year ago because I live around Fagba. One day in March, he approached me and I thought he was going to ask for money. But he did not.

“He told me it was his 58th birthday and begged me to buy him a Bible and a book, ‘The Power of Positive Thinking’.

“The first thing that struck me about him was that he wasn’t the average destitute. He spoke good English with good diction.”

Happiday said he became interested in Thorpe’s case and would stop once in a while to check up on him at the spot, adding that he later bought him the book and the Bible.

According to Happiday, he became a sort of friend to Thorpe, stopping by once in a while to give him food and ask about his background.

“He told me he was from a rich family in Abeokuta and that his father was a former Ambassador to Ethiopia. He also said he had his first and second degrees in Mass Communication and PhD in English language. But he did not say which year he got them or from which institution. However, when I stopped by one day, I met Pastor Olawale with him,” Happiday said.

On his part, Mr Olawale explained that he first met Thorpe about four years ago. According to him too, the homeless man always asked him for a Bible.

The pastor explained that he got interested in Thorpe’s case when the man approached him one day while passing through the rail line at Fagba. He said he always asked Thorpe about his family and who could be contacted to take him away from the place.

He said, “I felt the place was not safe and he could still become something great if he got somebody to take care of him. He brought out a jotter containing phone numbers of some of his friends and relatives and he gave me that of a man he referred to as his uncle and head of the family – Bode Thorpe.

“I wanted to know why nobody had come to his rescue. In one of our conversations, he told me he was once a journalist. He said his father later established a community bank and made him the manager.”

According to Olawale, Thorpe told him there was a case of financial impropriety in the bank, resulting in his being jailed. Thorpe was said to have explained that after he left jail, he had a road accident that affected his right leg.

“Since that day, Thorpe said his life took a turn for the worse. He said his family disowned him. I visited him regularly and gave him food when I could. I called the phone numbers of many of the family members he gave me, but most of them did not show any interest in him,” Olawale said.

It was gathered that Thorpe has children and that his mother is a retired army officer.(Credit: Punch)




    November 7, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    So so SAD.

  2. adeyinka folahan

    November 7, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    i took pity on Him.its indeed a sad story.

  3. Allington Jorginson Papah Omuso

    November 7, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    He deserved a second chance. Oh! Am going to cry.

  4. omoregbee bukola tinuke

    November 7, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    Another wasted asset to our nation, this story moved me to tears! Pathetic!!!! May you find peace whereever you may be! Rrst in peace Mr.Thorpe!

  5. Frank

    November 7, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    May is gentle soul rest in perfect peace.But only God know where he went wrong.

  6. Samuel

    November 7, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    What a monumental waste of human resources

  7. Onyebuchi

    November 7, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    It is very bad and unforgiving spirit. A star has gone and cannot come back again. May God forgive their family. So sad and annoying.

  8. Precious Adeola Monica

    November 7, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    What a waste! So sadl

    • Tessy Mozia

      November 7, 2012 at 7:44 PM

      Oloorun,ma je aiye o se wa oo

    • Adebusayo Adetomi Adedeji

      November 7, 2012 at 8:14 PM

      Its really sad, i also read his story today. I know him wella as i̶̲̥̅̊n̶̲̥̅̊ wella. Very intelligent and spks gud english. He stays i̶̲̥̅̊n̶̲̥̅̊ my neighbourhood then i̶̲̥̅̊n̶̲̥̅̊ lag Anytime am passing hez always like 'sister' and i will just quickly increase my pace out of fear

    • Ogunfolaji Adebimpe

      November 7, 2012 at 8:42 PM

      Uhn! What a waste of destiny.

  9. Elizabeth Omotayo

    November 7, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    Who are we to query God? May his soul rest in perfect peace

  10. Cheechee

    November 7, 2012 at 8:19 PM

    Hmmmn…. God deliver us from destiny wasters…. Amen!

  11. Victor Edward

    November 7, 2012 at 9:35 PM

    Forgiveness is the key to this life we are living in.He deserve a second Chance.Rest in Peace.Amen.

  12. Omolara Kolawole Marufat

    November 7, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    OMG……dis is so sad…….

  13. Olatunji Adeniyi

    November 7, 2012 at 9:43 PM

    God knows all.

  14. olatunji

    November 7, 2012 at 9:45 PM

    May his soul rest in peace.

  15. Rick Mae

    November 7, 2012 at 11:04 PM

    Mehn,some families wicked o…

  16. Edith

    November 8, 2012 at 9:23 AM

    The so called pastor Olawale and Larry Happiday are opportunist and thieves who wants to glory and have a cheap popularity as a good samaritan over the death of this mad man. If they really care as they claimed, the mad man would have been removed from the dump. They are like the other wicked Nigerians who feel they can come to newspaper to say anything that they are good people. They could not visit the family to know details of this mad man. Which food are they giving the mad man. Useless fellows, liars. The death of this man hangs on their neck if they don’t stop publicising lies of what they did not do to help Late Thorpe. May God punish these two so called men i.e Pastor Olawale and Larry Happiday for their role in the death of Mr. Thorpe. Amen

    • Bukola Okedara

      November 10, 2012 at 8:21 PM

      I did not finish reading up before I started questioning the extent of the help of those Good Samaritans in quote. I am in your camp. Who ever saw that man and could not find him a government in the whole of Nigeria to help in terms of shelter, clothing, and food plus medicals is such a funny persons.

      Do not be surprised that all of us enslave ourselves abroad making money for the fact that their own government care about people who are in worse and hopeless conditions than Dr. Thorpe.

      We shouldn’t blame the family members, may be when he was in charge of money, he did not invite them to blow the money on frivolities; as that is the way we are a a people. Waste and brag! That is our nature, our religion and the reason we are Pastors and Imams.

      Let us keep talking and keep working the talk.

  17. Autina Hart

    November 9, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    You see this Country eh…it is only when someone dies that you will hear about the person?

  18. Claret Ifeanyichukwu Soronnadi

    November 9, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    What a great lost, may soul rest in peace Amen!

  19. Hycento Jackson

    November 11, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    PhD or not, the man was mentally ill. Where were the mental health services to assist when he needed them. And let’s not forget that quite a few homeless people ARE mentally ill…

  20. moyeb

    June 2, 2017 at 12:20 AM

    I agree with Edith. I remember that about 1 to 2years ago I read the case of this man online and nobody could come to his aid to provide shelter or take his case to the government so as to intervene in his care. We have lost another brain. It is late now the man has gone to rest. May his soul rest in peace and may God forgive all his sins while on earth. So so sad.

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