By Monsuru Olowoopejo
Corpses of the six pupils that died in the boat mishap in Ojo Local Government were yesterday recovered by the rescue teams and buried by their parents amid tears and anguish.
The victims were: 12-year-old Jonathan Fiankyu ; Nelson Fiankyu; 16-year-old Josephine Ajigbo; Patience Ajigbo; Imonina Briget; and Kayode Nathaniel. They were students of Osolu High school and Irewe primary school.
I wish my son listened to his grandmother -Victims mother
Speaking to Vanguard, Mrs. Veronica Friday, the mother of Jonathan, said “I wished my son had yielded to his paternal grandmother’s advice not to go to school.”
Veronica muted in an interview with Vanguard, stating that he (Jonathan) demanded that he would go to school, because examination would be starting on Wednesday.
Vanguard gathered that the late Jonathan was an apprentice in one of the barbers shops in the community with his late friend, Nelson.
His elder sister, 17-year-old Abigail, explained that the grand mother asked Jonathan to shelve the idea of going to school since he was already late but he refused.
She noted that Jonathan often left home at about 7:30 am but last Wednesday, he left at 8:30 am; which made his grand mother to plead with him to shelve going to school that day.
Lamenting the death of her sibling, Abigail said “I don’t know how we can fill this vacuum left by Jonathan in the house. He is the one responsible for the house chores. We eat together daily but since yesterday, I’ve not seen my brother. I wish he was still around.”
Her examination forced me to let her go-Victims Guardian
For Mrs. Florence Akindele, a guardian to one of the victims, Patience, the third term examination had come at a very wrong time, saying; “If not for the third term examination which I believe should start this week, I wouldn’t have allowed Patience to leave for school.”
Sources said that Patience had been living with Mrs. Akindele since she was one-year-old.
When Vanguard visited Olomo-metta, Mrs. Akindele was sighted surrounded by sympathizers who had thronged the community to commiserate with her following the two losses suffered by the family. Patiece’s sibling, Josephine also drowned.
According to her, “if not the exams, I would have sent him on errand because my husband lost his father; we were preparing for the burial ceremony. The preparation had enveloped us before the tragedy occurred.”
She narrated that she went to Idumota on Tuesday to purchase items needed for the ceremony, adding “As I was leaving home on Wednesday, I wanted to ask him to shelve school and deliver the Aso Ebi I purchased in Idumota to my friends. But because I believe that they would be either starting their exams or preparing for it, I asked her to leave for school and return on time to deliver the cloth to my friend in the next village.
“She is very brilliant. And I never want to destroy her education. I never knew that was the last time I will see Patience. In fact, I was on my way to Badagry to see some of my relatives when I was called that there was a boat mishap. When I enquired about the time, I started panicking because she might be in the canoe. And when I arrived, I discovered that she was part of the missing teenagers,” she added.
I didn’t see the canoe-fibre boat captain
The captain of the fibre boat which collided with the canoe conveying the teenagers said that he didn’t see the students boat before the accident.
Miss. Evelyn Mensah, one of the survivors, disclosed in an interview with Vanguard that; “That was the captain’s argument when he was arrested.”
Evelyn who sustained injury narrated “I can not believe that he didn’t see us. Infact when we sighted the boat, we shouted because we discovered that he was over speeding. But the captain failed to manoeuvre. This prompted us to stand up; believing that it would alert him. All these proved abortive.”
Vanguard gathered that corpses of two of the victims were recovered on Wednesday at about 5 pm while the others were recovered on Thursday at about 8:30 am. It also added that the six -three boys and three girls-sustained varying degrees of injury before drowning in the Ojo river.
It was revealed that the canoe conveying the teenagers was few meters away from the Irewe shore after leaving the Igira shore when the accident occurred. But the delay in rescue operation and the depth of the river caused the victims to drown
The Baale of Igira, Chief Salami Matimiloju who spoke to Vanguard in an interview said the fibre boat was conveying jerry cans filled with fuel to Badagry before it ran into the teenagers’ canoe.
He lamented that the injury sustained by the victims contributed to their drowning, saying “some had their heads shattered by the engine blade.”
It was learned that the boat was trying to avoid arrest from the Marine police before it ran into their canoe.
Matimiloju noted that the corpses of the teenagers were handed over to their parents after the recovery.
After the burial rites of the teenagers, their parents and guardian in an interview with vanguard accused the fibre boat captain of over speeding, saying “if he was not over speeding, he would have sighted the children and manoeuvre after the children stood up from their canoe to alerted him.