Nigerian SCD Warrior/Advocate Passes Away

Ms Adebola Benjamin with Alhaja Asiata Aduke Onikoyi-Laguda in 2017 (photo by Sickle Cell News)

Her last post was on June 3rd 2022, when health-conscious sexagenarian Ms Adebola Ayoola Odutola-Benjamin sought to encourage members of her support group to put SCD underfoot by eating principally from nature.

Two days later, a pious Christian, she ‘joined the Saints Triumphant’.

Born November 18 1958, Ms Benjamin was widely travelled. As Admin Secretary of Benjamin Olowodola Foundation, she attended the 45th Annual Congress of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America (SCDAA), Baltimore, USA in 2017.

Benjamin Olowodola Foundation was established to add weight to the effort to assist persons living with sickle cell in Nigeria on the 60th birthday of Founder, Reverend Babajide Olowodola, a 1979 Sociology graduate of the University of Ibadan and father of a child affected with the condition. The family’s harrowing experiences raising that child spurred the establishment of BOF to warn others about the implications of genotype for the unborn.

Petite, fair-complexioned and beautifully crafted, a scion of the famous Odutola family of Ijebu-Ode, Ms Adebola Benjamin will be missed by the SCD Community in Abuja.

In 2015, as Guest Editor on the July – September 2017 edition of SICKLE CELL NEWS, Ms Benjamin penned this piece:

I actually came to an understanding of the word ‘Sickle Cell’ when I was thirteen years old.

I had one of those terrible pain incidents and after being discharged from hospital, my father was asked to see the late Prof Afolabi Lesi, a consultant haematologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH).

Professor Lesi was the first person to really break down the meaning of SCD to me. He remarked that since I was now a teenager, he wanted me to be conscious of the imperative to take responsibility for my own health. He gave me a little book he had written about sickle cell plus a long list of do’s and don’ts.

My father was very committed to keeping me alive and took me wherever he heard that a solution had turned up. He also prayed ceaselessly for my recovery from frequent illness.


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