By Ikenna Asomba & Mildred Ibrahim
FOllowing last Wednesday’s boat mishap which led to the death of six school children along the Irewe water-ways, in the Ojo area of Lagos State, investigation by the Lagos State Waterways Authority, LASWA , revealed that all passengers onboard the canoe did not have life jackets on. The Managing Director, LASWA, Yinka Marinho, said incident report gotten at 8.30am on that fateful day stated that the accident involved a motorized boat (Fibre boat) which crashed into a non-motorized canoe heading towards Irewe locality along the Ojo axis of Lagos State.
Marinho said the tragedy occurred due to the reckless driving by the Captain of the motorized boat (OLA MOTHER), who colluded into a non-motorized canoe travelling with one adult and 12 children onboard, adding that the LASWA patrol boat was immediately dispatched at about 08.35am to the locality on receiving the incident report.
He said: “On reaching Irewe jetty, the Patrol team met with Oba of Irewe, who led the team to the village police station, where men of the Police Force had been very helpful in the handling of the incident. It was gathered that immediately after the collision, local boat operators had tried to rescue the children from the canoe which hull had been damage, resulting to its sinking.
“All passengers onboard the canoe did not have life jackets on. Casualty reports show that six children were missing (three girls and three boys), seven children were rescued and were immediately taken to Igando general hospital where they are receiving medical attention. “Search and rescue team of LASWA and local boat operators recovered three corpses of two girls and a boy at around 17:45pm (day of incident) and they were handed over to the families by the Divisional Police Officer in that community. Search for the remaining bodies was still ongoing that time.’’
According to the LASWA boss, “the Captain of the motorized boat is being held at Irewe Police Station, while the boat involved (OLA MOTHER) is also under police custody for further investigation by the police. On Thursday, July 2, 2015, rescue team from LASWA and some of the villagers were in search for the remaining bodies. At exactly 9am, three bodies were recovered from the bed of the lagoon (a girl and two boys) by the rescue team and handed over to the community’s DPO, who released the bodies to the family members.
“The names of the deceased children are Jonathan Fiankyu, Nelson Fiankyu, Josephine Ajigbo, Patience Ajigbo, Imonina Briget and Kayode Nathaniel. From our observation, all the passengers were not putting on life jacket, the collusion caused the boat to capsize and our investigation showed that the root cause of the mishap was due to reckless driving by the fiber boat captain,” he added.