By Olasunkanmi Akoni, Bose Adelaja, Mosur Olowoopejo & Esther Onyegbula
LAGOS—Tragedy struck in Lagos and Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, yesterday, as six persons including a pregnant woman and her three children were electrocuted as rainstorm swept away three others in Ilorin.
The Lagos tragedy occurred at Oworonshoki area of the state, during a heavy downpour. According to an eyewitness, the tragedy struck at Nos 6 and 8 Onabanjo Street, Oworonsoki around 2.00 am when the 11KVA high tension line suddenly snapped during the early heavy downpour accompanied by rainstorm with electricity still on the cable.
Confirming the incident, General Manager, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, Dr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, said, a cable belonging to Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, during the heavy rainfall, sparked when power was suddenly restored at about 2.20 am. He said the cable snapped and landed on a vehicle with 50 litres of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, which immediately exploded into a ball of fire.
He said the incident caused panic among residents of the area and in an attempt to run into safety, they unknowingly stepped on the live cable and were electrocuted.
Oke-Osanyintolu, confirmed that six people died while the Police and other security agencies arrived the scene later to restore normalcy.
Also confirming the report, Director, Lagos State Fire Service, Mr. Rasak Fadipe explained that the high tension cable fell on a car loaded with Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, resulting in fire outbreak which eventually claimed six lives, adding that the prompt intervention of men of the Fire Service prevented nearby buildings from being gutted by fire.
However, an eyewitness, Mr. Kabiawu Babajide, who is the General Secretary, Council of Oworonshoki Youth Forum said when the high tension wire snapped, it fell in a drainage and caught fire when it came in contact with wood, saying that two vehicles close to the wood were burnt by the resultant fire. He said people started screaming to alert others.
He said: “Not knowing what was happening, some people in their houses ran out and in a bid to escape, they stepped on the naked wire and were immediately electrocuted, while those injured were rushed to the hospital.
“People ran away from their houses in different directions and stepped on the high tension wire and they were immediately electrocuted. It was about 30 minutes later before PHCN, cut off power supply after they had been informed of the incident.
“Six people died in the tragedy, which included a woman with three children and another pregnant woman with a child.”
Another eye witness, Ladi Joshua who claimed to be few metres away from the scene where the high tension wire snapped said the incident occurred around 2. 00am. According to him,
“the wire fell on a wooden material and caught fire immediately. I shouted fire and immediately called the fire service to the scene but before they came, the damage had been done.
“In the process, six people were electrocuted, with those injured taken to the hospital, efforts to rescue the deceased proved abortive.”
It was also gathered that the man who was said to have lost his wife and three children, upon hearing the news was reported to have broken down, lamenting that he had lost all hope and reportedly attempted suicide before he was rushed to an hospital in the area.
Joshua gave the names of those who died as one Iya Fatima, who died with her child and one Iya Jonathan, who was pregnant and died with her children, adding that another boy, called Basit was also electrocuted.
According to him, the deceased were taken to the mortuary of a hospital in Yaba as they were rejected at the Gbagada General Hospital.
Two brothers, driver killed as rain wreaks havoc in Ilorin
In Ilorin, no fewer than three people were feared dead in a downpour that destroyed property worth millions of naira and rendered hundreds of people homeless overnight.
The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that two brothers identified as Basil and Gafal, aged four and three and half respectively, lost their lives while an Abuja-bound bus driver also died in the flood.
NAN correspondent who visited the scene of the flood along Ajase-Ipo Road, Ilorin, reports that over 30 vehicles were damaged due to the heavy flood caused by blocked canal.
A resident of the area, Alhaji Ganiyu Suleiman of Alawari Motors, said that the bus driver, having arrived in Ilorin late, decided to sleep in his vehicle, and was washed away together with the bus.
Not less than eight houses around a hotel along the road were affected as many occupants of the buildings were seen salvaging their belongings from the debris.
Clothes, kitchen utensils and other household items were being retrieved from the collapsed buildings by despondent residents.
Many of the damaged vehicles were washed away by the force of the flood while many also somersaulted.
According to Suleiman, about 10 refrigerators packed in front of an electronics and fridge shop were also washed away by the flood.
Also, many water tanks and PVC pipes belonging to a building materials dealer were washed away or damaged by the flood.
The flood also uprooted banana trees, carried them some kilometres away and deposited them in front of houses and on the main road.
Many of the residents who spoke with NAN said the flood was caused by the blocked canal.
Suleiman appealed to the state government to expand the canal to allow for free flow of water whenever there was rainfall.
Meanwhile, the Kwara Commissioner for Environment, Alhaji Abubakar Morah, who visited the scene, sympathised with the victims of the flood disaster.
Morah said that the state government would find a lasting solution to flooding in the area.