SIMON EBEGBULEM, BENIN CITY
The tragedy that befell the Edo State Chairman of the Youth Sports Federation of Nigeria (YSFON), Mr Osamudiamen Osagiede, penultimate Saturday, in Benin City, is something that he will not even wish for his enemy. On that day, Osagiede lost two sons and 12-year-old niece in a collapsed building in Urora community, Benin-City.
A confused Osagiede described the calamity as cinema. The victims, Gift Ogbeide, Junior Osagiede, Martins Osagiede, 12, 15 and seven years old respectively, were said to have gone to repair a bicycle along Sunday Irabor Street in Urora when the building housing the bicycle repairer’s workshop collapsed and killed them. Three other persons, including the bicycle repairer, sustained serious injuries and are recuperating in hospital.
The landlord of the building was said to have fled when youths storm the place to inquire what happened. Sunday Vanguard learnt that people had predicted the collapse of the building due to the dilapidated state. Residents mobilised to save the lives of the teenagers all to no avail.
The incident came as a shock to many because it occurred not too long after the teenagers arrived the place to repair their bicycle. Osagiede, who narrated his ordeal to Sunday Vanguard, said:”On Saturday, there was no problem at all. They (deceased children) were the ones who opened the gates for me to go out. Later in the day, I got a phone call that something had happened to my sons. When I got to the place, I discovered they were dead. I was told they went there to repair a bicycle with my sister’s daughter. The tragedy is like cinema to me. I can’t really say what caused the collapse but I know the building is not okay.
I am so devastated and don’t know what to do now. I have six children, four girls and the two boys now are gone”. Asked about the landlord of the collapsed building who was arrested by the police, Osagiede said: “Arresting him will not bring back my children; so I went to the police station and asked them to release him.
Though some of us know that the building is old and anything could happen, we did not know it will be sad like this. I have left everything to God. All I am doing now is to appeal to my family members to be strong and move on.
I don’t want anybody to develop high blood pressure because we have seen enough tragedy and don’t need more. The two boys are my only male children; I still don’t know how to explain this. My own is that if it is the will of God that the situation should be like this, I will take it, but if it was done by somebody due to jealousy, then the wrath of God awaits the person. I leave everything in the hands of the Almighty God”.
On her part, the mother of the deceased girl, Mrs Ogbeide, said, “When my daughter came back from school on that day, the father wanted to speak to her on phone because the father was not around. After the father had spoken to her, she went home. It was later I heard that a building had collapsed and my brother’s sons were at the place. I immediately started looking for Gift, running around the street. I was at Aduwawa still looking for her when I heard that she had been found dead with the two boys. I know anybody who might have done this wicked act will not go unpunished. She is my only daughter and my source of joy. Now they have taken her away from me. I leave everything to God.” She wept.