BY ONOZURE DANIA
HOW am I going to take care of the children now? They have made life unbearable for me and my family. They have taken away our breadwinner and made me a widow. I never imagined that I will be a widow now.” With these words, Mrs Modupe Popoola, the wife of the deceased danfo driver, Isaac Popoola, who was allegedly killed by LATSMA officials wailed uncontrollably, Thursday, as sympathisers thronged their Lagos home to commiserate with her. The late commercial bus driver was killed on December 24.
LATSMA has made me a widow
At their 16, Ojo Ogundana Crescent off Jimoh Akinremi Street, Jimoh Bus stop, Akowonjo, Egbeda, Lagos residence, an inconsolable Mrs Popoola wondered how harm could come the way of her husband, whom she described as a gentleman. “He did not have problem with people around. People in our area know him to be an easy going person; he went to look for what we are going to use to celebrate Christmas, only for me to receive a shocking news of his death,” she said tearfully.
Popoola called on Nigerians to come to her aid and that of her family. She also wants justice done and the killers of her husband brought to book. She said: “Is 6.30 am their time of resumption? What were they doing on the road at that time? They wanted to pull him down to take his vehicle away from him because of the money that they wanted to collect from him. Because they pay contributions of N10,000 that was why they have taken our bread winner away. Now I don’t have any helper any more.”
He bought ram for Christmas but did not live to eat it
Recalling her husband’s last deeds, she said that the late driver had bought a ram (tied outside) in October for the celebration of Christmas, noting “we have been planning on how we are going to have fun with members of our family, before LATSMA killed my husband.” She lamented that since the incident occurred on Monday, LASTMA officials, had not paid the family a condolence visit, “they have not even called or sent text message to express their condolence.”
My husband asked me to stop work because of our sick daughter
Pointing to her last child, who is physically challenged and also the only girl out of five children, she said she and her husband had been trying to take care of the child along with the other children, but now she is going to shoulder the responsibility of bringing the children up all alone. Mrs Popoola said because of the condition of their daughter, her husband asked her not to work or trade so as to take proper care of her while he shouldered the responsibility of providing for the whole family.
Driver planning to bury late dad, January 28
According to her, the husband had planned with his brothers on how to go and bury his father on January 28, 2013 only for him to be killed. The father died last August.
“I want the government and Governor Babatunde Fashola to come help me and my family because I don’t have any business that I am doing. I don’t know how we are going to survive, I don’t know where we are going to get our next meal from, please come to my aid,” she cried.
Popoola’s colleagues at Oshodi motor park, where they always loaded passengers when he was alive attested to the fact that he was a very gentle and easy going driver, who obeyed traffic laws and regulations. Those encountered were shocked to hear about his death.
I ‘ve not recovered from the shock – conductor
His conductor, said since the incident, he had not been himself because they had been together for a very long time that if he did not see him in the park, he did not work with any other driver.
Late driver’s children wail
The first son, Ibukunoluwa, who is a graduate of Accounting from Federal Polytechnic, Offa, Kwara State, said LATSMA officials who were at the Akinpelu Police Station in Oshodi, promised to visit the family but till now they have not seen or head anything from them. He said he didn’t have the opportunity of seeing his father that morning before he was killed, adding: “I don’t know how I am going to cope without a father, because I wasn’t expecting to be fatherless at this point in my life.”
Another son of the late driver, Busayo Popoola, who was in Osogbo when the incident happened, said he was not aware of his father’s death until he came back home on December 26, adding “I don’t know what to say now but the death is very painful.”
IPO takes case to court
Meanwhile the Investigative Police Officer, handling the case, has taken it to the magistrate court in Ikeja for approval so that they can start coroner’s inquest into the matter.
My husband had internal bleeding
The wife said that he had internal bleeding due to the way he was beaten because when they were embalming him at the mortuary, blood was coming out from his nose and ear.
A friend of the family said that LATSMA officials were supposed to be keeping traffic laws and not collecting money from people, noting that LATSMA officials need to be re-orientated because most of them don’t even understand the laws.
His words: “They are thieves, if he the danfo driver had gotten down from the bus, they would have taken it to their office and start charging him with offence that he didn’t commit and before you know it, they would ask for N40,000 to N50,000. Where would he get it from, when he was looking for money to feed and take care of his family?”