Durban – The Nigerian man who was shot dead in Clairwood Hospital last week had a premonition about his death, which he shared with his wife shortly before he was killed.
Nicholas Udemo, 33, a patient, spoke of a suspicious looking woman who had hovered near his bedside in the hospital.
Two armed men, pretending to be visitors, walked into the hospital’s male surgical ward and shot Udemo twice in the head and “casually” walked off.
A hospital staff member, who was on duty at the time of the shooting and asked not to be named, said Udemo had tried to cover himself with a blanket when he recognised the men, but he was not able to do so in time.
Udemo had died instantly.
“We saw the two men entering the ward but we did not pay much attention to them because it was during visiting hours,” said the source.
“One of them raised his hand and greeted us as he walked by.
“Moments later we heard screams; patients tried to take cover as the shots were fired.
“The two men walked casually back to their vehicle in the parking lot before driving off.
“As they exited through the main gate, security officers attempted to search their vehicle, but were powerless to do anything when the two men pointed guns at them.”
The hospital shooting came 41 days after an attempt was made on Udemi’s life.
On that occasion, he was shot eight times while driving from his flat with a business partner, near Durban Botanic Gardens.
Udemi was taken to King Edward VIII Hospital in Umbilo, and transferred to Clairwood Hospital two weeks later.
Udemo’s wife, Miria, 32, told Sunday Tribune that her husband had had “a bad sense” about the suspicious looking woman.
“He said she gave him a cold look but said nothing.
“I then requested that the hospital staff not permit anyone near my husband’s bed, out of fear that another attempt would be made on his life,” she said.
On the day her husband was killed, Miria said she had been emotional and had prayed for his well-being throughout the day.
When she made a phone call to him in hospital, she got no response. But a few minutes later she received a call requesting her to come to hospital immediately, where she was told about her husband’s death.
“I am still struggling to accept his death. It is too traumatic when our children (daughters Stacey, 7, Esther, 4, and 2-year-old son Michael) ask when their father is returning home,” she said.
Miria said the hospital’s staff should have taken precautions to protect her husband.
She believed that he was killed by people who were opposed to him opening a jewellery shop in Durban’s CBD.
“He was a loving husband who would do anything to protect his family, and he had much respect for me. Both my parents died a long time ago but he filled that gap for me.”
Miria said she had to now raise about R28000 to transport her husban’s body to Nigeria for burial.
Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said the motive for the killing had yet to be determined, and a case of murder was being investigated.
Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane expressed deep concern about, and strongly condemned the execution-style killing of Udemo in the hospital.
“We send our condolences to the family of the deceased. We are shocked at this brazen display of violence inside a health care facility.
“It is flagrant disregard for the law, and shows the ruthlessness of criminal elements in our society,” she said.
The department had offered counselling to staff and patients who witnessed the incident.