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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Nigerian man crosses Third Mainland Bridge in almost three hours of non-stop swimming

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A Nigerian, Akinrodoye Dare, known as Dreh, has accomplished an incredible feat.

Dreh successfully completed a non-stop swim across the Lagos Lagoon, which is located underneath the Third Mainland Bridge – Africa’s second-longest bridge – in a time of two hours and 33 minutes.

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Hailing from Ocean28 Academy, Dreh, a swim coach, seized the spotlight on Sunday by swimming the entire 11.8-kilometer length of Lagos’ Third Mainland Bridge to raise awareness for an important cause.

The purpose of the challenging task of swimming the entire length of the Third Mainland Bridge, as stated by the CEO of Ocean28 Academy, was to draw attention to the concerning trend of past suicide attempts on the bridge.

Akinrodoye Dare, known as Dreh

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He started his journey into the water at 9.28 am on Sunday after conducting a demo swim on March 30. Prior to that, he tested his resilience and skills by swimming across the famous Landmark Beach in Lagos on January 21.

Prior to embarking on the nearly three-hour challenge, he informed his 3000 Instagram followers about it.

In his post, he mentioned, “In a world where mental health struggles can feel isolating, we offer hope, extend a helping hand, and show that no one is alone in their battles with mental health and suicidal thoughts.”

The challenge commences

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Coach Dreh embarked on an extraordinary swimming adventure that began in Oworonshoki on Lagos Mainland and concluded at Adeniji Adele on Lagos Island.

Akinrodoye Dare, known as Dreh

The video documenting his journey has garnered attention across the internet.

In the captivating footage, Dreh, the first Nigerian to attempt this feat, was seen accompanied by his teammates, supporters, the media, and essential medical personnel.

What was particularly remarkable was Dreh’s decision not to wear a life jacket, displaying his remarkable expertise and skill as he traversed waters ranging from 36 to 54 meters deep.

He navigated the Lagos Lagoon, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean via Lagos Harbour, an important channel that extends 10 km through the heart of the city and spans 0.5 to 1 km in width.

Following the completion of his grueling swim, he was provided with a floater.

A visibly exhausted Dreh was safely extracted from the water and promptly given medical attention to recover his strength.

Prior to the challenge, the CEO of Ocean28 Academy cited the motivation for this daring endeavor as the concerning number of public suicides on the Third Mainland Bridge.

In a video shared by MeetPrinceAhmad on X, Dreh conveyed his dedication to the cause.

“I am going to be swimming the entire length of the Lagos Third Mainland Bridge to raise awareness and sensitize the public on mental health, suicide, and depression.”

“It is 11.8 kilometers from the Mainland, Oworonshoki, to the Island of Adeniji Adenle. My years of experience in the aquatic realm exceed a decade. And swimming, for me, allows me to achieve anything I desire,” Dreh stated.

The swimming enthusiast emphasized the importance of seeking help when dealing with mental health issues.

“Mental health is a cause that I am passionate about. Life can be harsh, and it is okay to seek help. Your life can turn positive in the blink of an eye. Stay alive to witness it,” he expressed.

Coach Dreh also shared that he has had to confront mental health challenges in his own journey.

Akinrodoye Dare, known as Dreh

“Swimming was a lifeline for me during my battles with mental health,” he disclosed.

“It provided me with a sense of purpose and helped me find the strength to overcome my challenges. I want to impart that message of hope and resilience to others.”

Community Response and Support

Prior to undertaking the challenge, he met with the Lagos State Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Mobolaji Ogunlende, who expressed the government’s endorsement of his cause.

Support for Coach Dreh’s endeavor also came from the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA).

Various organizations and individuals have commended Coach Dreh’s efforts and called for ongoing support and action to address mental health issues in Nigeria.

READ ALSO: World Water Day: Lagos govt unveils new WASH policy

His initiative has spurred many concerned citizens to urge the government to invest more in mental health services and heighten public awareness about the significance of seeking assistance.

Regrettably, the Third Mainland Bridge, one of Africa’s longest bridges, has become known as a common location for public suicides in Lagos.

With a daily traffic volume of around 117,000 vehicles, the bridge has unfortunately witnessed numerous suicide attempts in recent years. Serving as a major route from the Mainland to various Lagos areas such as Lagos Island, Victoria Island, Lekki, Ajah, and Epe, the bridge has been the site of several tragic incidents.

In March 2017, a medical doctor named Allwell Orji instructed his driver to stop on the bridge and then jump into the lagoon. Shortly after, Titilayo Momoh, a 65-year-old textile dealer burdened by debt, was rescued by police officers as she considered taking her own life. In November 2018, Sheriff Oladejo, an employee of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, took advantage of a traffic jam caused by a broken-down vehicle to jump off the bridge.

In 2019, both an unemployed Accounting graduate and Ayinla Rilwan attempted suicide at the exact location. Fortunately, they were rescued by the Rapid Response Squad and the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, respectively.

Adding to the list of tragic events, in August 2023, Fareeda Abdulkabir, also known as House of Phreedah, attempted to end her life due to marital issues and the breakdown of her two-month-old marriage. Witnesses managed to prevent the businesswoman from jumping, and she later revealed in a video that her actions were driven by the emotional pain of her failed marriage.

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