There were conflicting reports, Tuesday, concerning the state of health of popular Yoruba actor/comedian, Babatunde Omidina, better known as Baba Suwe.
After being stabilised at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, at the expense of the Federal Government, the stroke-stricken actor had arrived the United States on Easter Sunday for further treatment.
Then, like a bolt from the blues, the scary news popped out of the Facebook page of fuji music superstar/occasional actor, Wasiu Alabi Pasuma, Tuesday afternoon, that 60-year-old Baba Suwe had passed on.
The fuji star had written: “BABATUNDE OMIDINA (AKA BABASUWE) IS GONE. REST IN PEACE.”
But just as the terrible news began to spread on social media like wild fire in harmattan, another Nigerian, Abiodun Salako, posted a rebuttal also on Pasuma’s page:
“BABA SUWE IS ALIVE” he announced.
Displaying a picture of the actor, Salako continued with the credit line: zenithnaija.com, saying:
“Baba Suwe glows as he finally arrived US.”
The Crest contacted multiple sources to ascertain the veracity of Pasuma’s post but they all maintained that the comedian was alive.
Bolaji Amusan, otherwise known as Mr Latin, is the president of the Theatre Arts and Motion Picture Producers Association of Nigeria, TAMPAN. He rubbished the satanic rumour of Omidina’s purported death, describing it as fake news.
Amusan’s rebuttal came via a video he posted on his Instagram account, declaring: ”The purported rumor about Baba Suwe dead is fake.
“Baba Suwe is presently in America for treatment. He is hale, alive, health. I thank you all for your concern.”
On Sunday, fellow actor, Yomi Fabiyi, announced Baba Suwe’s trip, informing that he was accompanied by his son, Sola Omidina.
His words: “Happy Easter to you all. Of course, before this season of love, enormous and rare love is being shown to the veteran actor and comedian Alh. Babatunde Omidina.
”With your help and love, Baba Suwe travelled out in company of his son Sola Omidina to the United States of America yesternight 20th April, 2019, to complete his medical treatment.
“I must add that the Federal Ministry of Health through the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) were able to stabilize him in order to make the long haul with little or no acute discomfort.
”On behalf of Baba Suwe’s family, his colleagues, friends, TAMPAN movie association worldwide, I humbly register an undiluted appreciation to each and everyone for this wonderful show of love. Thank you once again to our dear mother, Rev. Mrs Esther Abimbola Ajayi for footing the air tickets.
”Depending on the treatment and prospective out-patient appointments, Baba Suwe should be returning to the screen hale and hearty before the last quarter of the year. He will be treated in a hospital in Rhode Island, USA.”
Meanwhile, the post purporting Baba Suwe’s death disappeared in a jiffy from Pasuma’s Facebook account on Tuesday. There was no trace of it when The Crest later tried to double check.
Meanwhile, the Fuji act may have yanked the post from his Facebook account as there was no trace of it when The Crest later tried to double check.
Born August 22, 1958, Baba Suwe’s fortunes began to nosedive in 2011 when the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, arrested him at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, for allegedly ingesting cocaine.
He spent three weeks in NDLEA detention during which the agency’s investigators tried to make him excrete the suspicious substance but found nothing.
Upon his release, Omidina went to court to seek redress. A Lagos High Court subsequently ordered NDLEA to pay the veteran actor N25 million for unlawful detention and tender a public apology to him.
NDLEA appealed the judgement.
The NDLEA had yet to pay the actor, a diabetic, any money when his health crashed. His lawyer, Bamidele Aturu also died.
Nollywood has had its fair share of members caught in the narcotic business web. Before Baba Suwe, the NDLEA had, on September 19, 2006, arrested a popular Yoruba actress, Hassanat Akinwande, as she tried to board a London-bound Virgin Atlantic flight at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.
Unlike Omidina after her, she was made to excrete 92 wraps of cocaine (condom sized) at the NDLEA detention camp. The scandal, however, boosted the publicity of her film, Ogun Oloro, which detailed her experience.
In 2007, another Nollywood star, Uche Odoputa, was nabbed by the NDLEA for drug trafficking. He was convicted and sentenced to two years and three weeks in prison.