Friday, July 3

 7/03/2015         No comments

The motorised boat which crushed the canoe conveying some pupils in Irewe, Ojo, Lagos State, killing six of them, was carrying stolen fuel, PUNCH Metro has learnt.
The traditional ruler of the area, Osolo of Irewe, Oba Abduldeen Durosimi, told our correspondent at his palace on Thursday that the schoolchildren were victims of illegal oil bunkering going on at the Takwa Bay area.
On Wednesday, some 14 schoolchildren who were in a canoe en route to their schools in Irewe fell into a river after the motorised boat crashed into their canoe.
While eight of the children were rescued alive, six of them drowned.
The victims were identified as Jonathan Fiankyu, Nelson Fiankyu, Josephine Ajigbo, Patience Ajigbo, Imonina Briget and Kayode Nathaniel.
When our correspondent visited the community on Thursday, he met the community leader, Durosimi.He said,

“There are 37 villages surrounding me. There are eight primary schools, but there is only one secondary school. There are about three islands that surround us here.
“The incident happened yesterday (Wednesday) when the schoolchildren were going to their schools. We have been warning the villagers against illegal oil bunkering. But some of them will not hear.
“It was one of them that was carrying fuel from Takwa Bay that crushed the children’s canoe, damaging the hull. But we thank God that not all of them died. Some survived.”
PUNCH Metro gathered that in the course of investigations, the suspected vandal was identified as one Folly.
It was learnt from residents that the person that paddled the children’s canoe also had his ears blocked with an earpiece. He was said to be listening to music.A resident said the children saw the fibre boat approaching and raised the alarm, but the man was distracted.
He said,
“The man that paddled that canoe had his ears blocked. He was listening to music and that was why he didn’t see the boat.
“By the time he knew, it was already too late. The boat broke the side. The children fell into the water, while the canoe sank.”
A classmate of Patience and Josephine who were both children of the same parents, Mojeed Rokibat, said their teachers did not initially believe the news.
She said,
“One of those that survived, Michael, came into the class and told our teachers their canoe had capsized.
“But they did not believe him. Then another person came and said the same thing and that was when everybody started to run helter-skelter.”
Another classmate, Lamidi Shukura, explained that one of the victims, Josephine, had danced during a recent event.
“Josephine danced well during a party to send off our JSS3 pupils. One of us asked her to stop, but she said, ‘Please let me dance well. I don’t know when I will have the chance to dance another one.’”


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