How Excursion to Airport and Idanre Hill Killed Nursery School Pupils
By Dayo Johnson
COUGHING out the N1, 500 excursion fees by the parents of the pupils of the controversial Aricent Nursery and Primary School in Ore, Odigbo, Ondo State was a difficult task but the ordeal they went through just to get the money pales into insignificance when they realised that the joy they thought the excursion would bring for the children would not be realised. What the excursion fetched the mostly peasant farmer parents was misery. The ill-fated excursion led to the death of nine pupils.
Some of the parents who could not afford the trip and had thought that they were the worst things God created are still thanking God that their indigent state saved their children. Their poverty turned out to be their savior as their children were not part of the group that embarked on the ill fated journey.
The pupils had looked forward to the to the excursion that took place last Wednesday with joy. The pupils had harassed their parents to cough out the money for the trip. As the day approached, the school with the aid of the pupils made the lives of the parents a living hell.
But they had to look for the fees attached to the exc demanded for excursion to the Akure Airport and Idanre Hills by the Proprietor Alhaji Tairu Osuolale Ariyo who died alongside the about twenty other pupils of the school in an auto crash at about 9pm that day..
The trip took over two months to plan. Parents who could not afford the trip were molested and asked to look for the money by all means so that their kids would not miss the golden opportunity of seeing the airport and the much talked about Idanre hills.
On the day of the trip it was learnt that some pupils who could not meet up with the time frame given to pay the fares wept profusely as the bus took off at the Olupitan new site where the school is situated. On the day of the excursion the kids that could not make the trip rolled on the ground cursing their parents poverty but they didnâ€™t know that it was a poverty that would save their lives. When the bus took off from the school premises little did they know of the about 51 people that packed themselves into that ill fated bus marked XD676JTN 20 of them would die The accident has turned the community upside down. The casualty rate reads 20 including the proprietor of the school dead
About 28 other pupils sustained injuries in the crash. Two of the four teachers that accompanied them namely Ebenezer and Tope, a Photographer, the son of the PTA Chairman Yusuf ,the driver John Japhet.
One of the two children of the proprietor Kamorudeen aged four died while the other Aminat aged nine survived. There was an unconfirmed report that a mother of three lost all her three kids in the accident while another mother lost her only child in the accident
Another source of pain to the mourning community is that Aricent Nursery and Primary School which was established about 15 years ago in the remote area in Ore and has a secondary School is not registered by government.
While eyewitness account claimed that many pupils died on the spot and others few minutes after the crash in the hospital, the state police command confirmed the death of 28 pupils of the school and added that several others sustained various degree of injuries.
Image Maker of the Command Adeniran Aremu said that the accident occurred at about 9:20pm on Wednesday.
Adeniran said that the bus a mazda marked XD676JTN conveying the pupils was driven by one John Japhet and was coming from Idanre heading back to Ore after the excursion.
Eye witness account revealed that the truck marked XC555REE was driven by one Sunny Muhammed was coming from Ore and heading for Ondo when the accident happened
It was learnt that the driver of the bus in a bid to overtake another vehicle collided head long with the truck.
Immediately the crash occurred policemen from Ore and members of the FRSC mobilized to the scene and helped in the rescuing the victims of the crash.
Some of the victims were rushed to the Ore General Hospital while those that died were deposited at the same hospital.
Parents of the pupil of the school that died in the crash rushed to the hospital late on Wednesday to collect their bodies amidst wailing and crying.
Information Commissioner in the state Ranti Akerele, described the accident as shocking and unfortunate and condoled the parents of the pupils
Akerele said government â€œwas deeply touched by the accident which sent many promising children to early graves.
He added that â€œthe government had sent the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Nike Fatogun and her counterpart in Vocational and Non_Formal Education Ministry, Mrs. Kehinde Momoh for an on_the spot assessment.
The Commissioner pointed out that it was discovered that the school was not registered by the government and was operating illegally.
Akerele said the school breached the regulation of government that any school going on excursion to any part of the state or country should have a tour guard.
Speaking with Saturday Vanguard the Education Commissioner Nike Fatogun described the death of the pupils as unfortunate and pointed out that government was going to do â€œa surgical operation of the schools in the stateâ€
Fatogun added that government would take a drastic step to curb the operation of illegal schools in the state adding that parents should be mindful of schools they send their wards to.
The Commissioner pointed out that official of the Ministry has started going round to close down illegal schools operating in the state.
Speaking on the accident the Chairman of the Parents Teachers Association Mr. Mudasiru Abdulsalam said he was billed to go on the trip but escaped death as he was having special prayers when the date was eventually fixed by the proprietor
â€˜I was supposed to be part of the team that will escort the pupils to Idanre. As the Chairman of the Parents Teachers Association, I was to be the leader of the team.
â€˜We had to shift the day earlier fixed for the excursion because it fell on the day the students were writing examination. But few days to the day we were supposed to go for the excursion, I started having bad dreams which forced me to change my planâ€. He said he cried profusely on seeing the corpse of the pupils as they were brought to the hospital.
He appealed to the State Government as a matter of urgency post qualified doctors to the Ore General Hospital.
A resident in the area Mulikat Afolabi said it was a sad development and that many people had deserted the community after the unfortunate incident happened.
Afolabi told Vanguard that such a thing had never happened in the area and that it called for prayer.
A neighbor to the father of one of the survivor Mrs. Aisatu Muri said that nobody would â€œever send his or her child to that school again if it ever reopens again. The people never knew that the school was not registered. It is the only school here and they teach our children Quoran.
The Chairman of the Odigbo Council Moses Akinjiyan described the death as unfortunate and that government has waded into it.
Speaking with Vanguard a mother who lost her daughter Mrs Ajoke Oloyode criticized the poor medical attention given to the victims of the crash at the Ore General Hospital. She said the hospital lacked equipment and needed manpower
She said her daughter Fatimo did not die immediately the crash happened but later died in the hospital due to poor treatment she received from the General hospital.
According to her â€˜I watched Fatimo languishing in pains without good medical attention at the General Hospital .
â€œThe poor medical attention given to the survivors in the road mishap increased the death toll. Many pupils died when their parents took them from the General Hospital to the other private clinics in the area.
â€œThe attitude of the workers in the general hospital was not good enough they felt unconcerned when the pupils were brought to the hospitalâ€.
Meanwhile government has ordered the closure of the school but the deed had been done no thanks to the ignorance of the parents who send their children to unregistered school and the laxity on the part of the officials of the state Ministry of Education.