At about 8am on July 1, 2006, a car belonging to Addax Petroleum Development Nigeria, ran into Mary Ephraim and her car on Osborne road in Ikoyi and left her for dead.
Mrs. Ephraim was standing beside her car near the sidewalk when the Addax car ran into her.
She was miraculously rescued moments later from underneath the car–unconscious but alive.
The driver of the Addax car and the culprit of the Osborne Road accident of July 2006, disappeared from the scene and has never resurfaced.
He’s also not been identified to the victim or made to tender any apologies.
Worse, Ephraim was left with irreparable damage to her spine and related loss of feelings and sensation on parts of her body.
Since 2006, she has made trips to several hospitals across the world in a bid to stay alive; and Addax has not been picking the bills of her treatment.
The company has also not made any formal contact with her or offered to pay compensation.
Accident kills Ephraim’s Dad
On July 31, 2006, Ephraim’s Dad, who frequently paid her visits in hospital, passed on from the trauma of watching his daughter writhe in pain from the injuries left by the accident.
“Ephraim has been left with an emotional scar, trauma and pain from that accident and she’s still suffering from the accident,” a friend of the victim who prefers not to be named for this story, tells this writer.
Ephraim has refused to speak about that dark day in July because she’s since dragged Addax to court; and speaking on the subject would amount to sub judice, her lawyer tells this writer.
“She has been unable to live like every other human being because her life has been violently taken away from her through no fault of hers,” Ephraim’s friend adds.
16 years after the accident, Addax Petroleum, with an office in the upmarket Victoria Island area of Lagos, has refused to take responsibility for the accident.
Top management of the oil company have also refused to engage with the victim or pick up her hospital bills.
She’s been treated with disdain, this writer has been repeatedly told.
Across the world with a damaged spine
In a letter seen by this writer, dated May 27, 2007 and addressed to ‘Whom it may concern’, the Royal Buckinghamshire Hospital in the UK, one of the many hospitals Ephraim visited after the accident, wrote that the car crash left her with a spinal cord injury “which was not recognised until later on in September.
“Following that, she was treated with bed rest until arrangements were made for her to be brought over to England for further treatment.
“She was admitted to the International Spinal Injuries and Rehabilitation, The Royal Buckinghamshire Hospital for further management and rehabilitation on 18th October, 2006.”
The hospital detailed that Ephraim “had sustained a fracture subluxation of T12/L1.”
The hospital also wrote that Ephraim’s spine had to be surgically re-aligned–a medical procedure undertaken in November of 2006.
“She was lucky that she was left with minimal neurological involvement causing her pain and numbness in the right leg,” wrote Dr M.A Jamous of the Royal Buckinghamshire hospital.
A family member of Ephraim’s who craved anonymity for this story tells this writer that “since the accident till date, Mary Ephraim cannot stand for more than two hours and cannot walk for more than an hour.
“She cannot handle physical labour or hard work. She has not been able to gain any employment because of the physical disability caused by the accident.
“At the time of the accident, Ephraim was on a N750,000 monthly salary. Since the accident, she has had to live off her mum, friends and family.
“She has been denied the right to have children like every normal woman. Months into the two pregnancies she’s had so far, she’s had to become an in-patient at a specialist hospital in Brooklyn, New York.
“She was permanently monitored so the pregnancy doesn’t impair the use of her legs. Right now, she’s been advised not to have any more children, a medical advice now causing a strain in her marriage.”
A cry for justice
This writer has learnt from another friend of the Ephraims that the victim suffers 24-hour headaches, insomnia and periodic unease all day long.
She’s also had to keep annual medical appointments with specialist doctors in America and India since the crash.
“She just wants justice as a law abiding citizen of her country,” this family member continues through a cascade of tears. “She can’t believe that Addax and its legal representatives have chosen to play a game of hide and seek with her life for 14 years!!! But for the mercies of God and the support from her family, she wouldn’t be alive today.
“The accident led to the loss of her father who went into shock and slumped after he visited her at the hospital, three days after the accident.”
Addax has been unreachable
Addax is yet to respond to requests for comments, two years after this writer first contacted them over Ephraim’s plight.
Repeated calls placed to the company’s publicly available phone number have not been answered and visits to the Addax office for a reaction to this story, have yielded little as well.
Quest Times will update this story with Addax’s official response as soon as we have one.
Addax Petroleum was established in 1994. Since August 2009, the company has been a subsidiary of the Sinopec Group, one of the largest oil and gas producers in China.
Sinopec is also the biggest oil refiner in Asia and the third largest in the world.
Addax also operates some Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).