BY BENJMAIN NJOKU
Residents of Akerele Street, in Surulere area of Lagos State, last Monday wore long faces.This was not because of the losses they incurred following the heavy downpour that grounded most parts of Lagos, and sacked many homes. Rather, they were in tears because of the sad incident that became the aftermath of that downpour.
The residents woke up the following morning to behold the unexpected. A three -wheeler, popularly called Keke Marwa, had swerved off the road which was seriously flooded and under construction, emptying its three occupants into a canal along Akerele Road, in Surulere.
Eyewitness said the incident happened around 5 pm last Sunday. According to the eyewitness, the Keke Marwa, with the registration number QI73KJA(RE-145) was conveying passengers from Lawanson to Ojuelegba, when the tragedy struck. The driver was said to have swerved off the road, resulting from flood and eventually emptied its occupants into the overflowing canal.
A staff nurse at the Eko Hospital, who witnessed the ugly incident narrates thus; “when the incident happened, I saw a woman and her child crying for help. They were struggling to save their lives while floating on top of the murky water. Suddenly, I didn’t see them again, the canal must have carried them. Other occupants were not seen at all.”
Saturday Vanguard however gathered that the driver of the three wheeler, who is now receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital in Surulere and a male passenger were the people that survived the accident. The two survivors were said to have escaped by the whisker, as they jumped out before getting to the canal which was covered with flood and which swallowed the three wheeler.
A middle aged woman with her child was said to have drowned in the canal, as their bodies were yet to be found at the time of filing this report.
Meanwhile, when Saturday Vanguard visited the scene of the incident, the Keke Marwa was still abandoned inside the canal that shares boundary with Eko Hospital in Surulere. The atmosphere was one of uncertainty as sympathizers gathered round the canal, discussing in low tunes.
Attempts by three able bodied men, suspected to be hoodlums to evacuate the three wheeler from the canal proved abortive. But in the wake of that attempt, three items were recovered from the Keke Marwa: torn wrappers, two empty kegs, believed to belong to the victims.
However, some Keke Marwa drivers who spoke with Saturday Vanguard disowned the driver of the affected three wheeler, saying that he was not a member of their association.
According to them, the driver came from Ojuelegba, and was returning when the accident occurred. For them, they don’t usually ply the road whenever there is a heavy downpour, especially on Sundays.
“We all know how bad that Akerele road is. So whenever there is heavy downpour, we don’t usually come out to work, mostly on Sundays. The driver of the Keke Marwa is not from Lawanson, he is not our member. So, we don’t know much about him,” a Keke Marwa driver narrated.
In Agbado Oke-Odo Local Council Development Area (LCDA) of the state and Agege, some people were said to have drowned in a canal. The rain which continued on Monday led to serious flooding, destroying lives and properties in the state and bringing Lagos to a standstill.