Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Itori Crash - I Lost Most Brilliant Child - Victim's Mother

Abeokuta — Mrs. Tayo Ayoade, 45, mother of Lekan, one of the seven school children who were crushed to death by a truck, Wednesday, said she has lost the most brilliant of her children.

Mrs. Ayoade in an exclusive interview with Vanguard at her residence at Itori, yesterday, said she received the news while she was peeling cassava.

The bereaved mother, amidst wailing, disclosed that she had four children before the death of Lekan, who she described as a promising artist.

She said: "I had four children. Lekan was my third child. He was 20 years old and in SSS 3 writing his exam before he was killed.

"He was morally upright. He was very brilliant. He could draw anything. He was a great artist, that was the reason I sent him to school. "Lekan was a child I loved most. I could not do without him. I have lost a great child."

Meanwhile, aggrieved students, youths, market women and resident took to the streets, yesterday, in protest over the incident.

Amosun lost niece

Governor Ibikunle Amosun also disclosed that he was affected, saying his niece was one of the students crushed by the truck.

Amosun, who was accompanied by the Chairman, Ewekoro Local Government Area, Dele Soluade to the scene of the accident, said his sister lost her daughter in the unfortunate incident.

Amosun, who visited some of the families of the deceased, sympathised with them, assuring them that the state government would support them in their time of grief.

He, however, disclosed that the government planned to build a pedestrian bridge in the area, saying other areas would be considered to forestall similar occurrences.

He directed that the survivors, who were initially admitted at the General Hospital, Itori, be transferred to Abeokuta for proper medical attention.

The governor supervised the drain of the water from a tunnel at the scene to ascertain whether more bodies were still trapped inside the tunnel. No corpse was, however, recovered after fire fighters drained the tunnel.

A truck with plate number LAGOS YZ 628 AKD, conveying tonnes of granite from Abeokuta, the state capital, had rammed into Itori Comprehensive High School building in Ewekoro Local Government Area of the state, Wednesday afternoon, killing some students.

In reaction, protesters went on rampage and damaged 50 vehicles.

AIG, CP relocate to accident town

Following the renewed riot by residents of Itori over the incident, Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 2, Mamman Tsafe, and the state Police Commissioner, Mr. Ikemefuna Okoye, have relocated to the accident scene.

The protest, which commenced at 7am, yesterday, left hundreds of commuters and motorists stranded for about five hours on the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway.

Armed with sticks and other dangerous weapons, the protesters who were mostly students, aggrieved youths, market women and residents dared policemen and barricaded the expressway with disused tyres and other objects, forcing travellers to make u-turn, while others parked their vehicles.

The presence of armed policemen and officials of the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, could not help stranded commuters as the security agents were apparently overwhelmed by the teeming protesters.

Killer-tragic truck missing

The protesters alleged that the ill-fated truck was towed away overnight by unknown people suspected to be agents of the state government.

When the AIG and the state Commissioner of Police, Ikemefuna Okoye, arrived at the scene, their repeated appeals to the people fell on deaf ears. Some eyewitnesses said about 10 hoodlums have been arrested by the mobile policemen drafted to the scene.

However, the AIG denied it, saying normalcy had been restored as hundreds of stranded motorists were allowed to move freely on the highway. Speaking with reporters, Itori Unit Commander of FRSC, Mr. Fatai Bakare, maintained that only seven students died in the accident, while two others were hospitalised.

Bakare denied complicity of his agency in the towing of the ill-fated truck, adding that he could not confirm the whereabouts of the vehicle. He said: "Nine people were involved, out of which seven died and two injured."

He blamed the incident on the recklessness of the driver of the articulated vehicle. He advised motorists to always adhere to traffic rules and regulation while on the highway.

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