By Francis Igata
ENUGU—Residents are still in shock, following the death of two siblings, Onyinyechi, 5, and Ebubechi Izumba, 8, from Anambra State, at Oakland Amusement Centre, when the Roller Coffee Cup malfunctioned, July 11. Seven kids and the Roller Coffee Cup operator equally sustained severe injuries. The popular recreation centre, which is situated on Ebeano Tunnel, off Ogui Road, Enugu State, boasts of amusement facilities.
Consequently, the Enugu State Government has set up a high-powered committee comprising Commissioner for Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority, ECTDA, Chidi Aro; Commissioner for Gender Affairs, Peace Nnaji; Commissioner for Science Technology, Greg Nnaji; Trauma Surgeon, Dr. Iyikwu, and personnel from the Department of State Services, DSS, to unravel the immediate and remote causes of the incident.
The committee has sealed up Oakland Amusement Park. The incident, which occurred at about 5.40p.m., triggered insinuations from a member of the committee that Oakland may have compromised on Standard Operating Procedure, SOP, on safety which accounts for the number of casualties recorded in the incident.
Findings showed that the incident was occasioned by a cut chain, which rotates in the roller coffee cup. The operator, who was on board, was said to have been flung into the nearby Artisan Market River.
Odega Jideonwo, Managing Director, Oakland Amusement Park, said: “We do not know the cause of the accident. It will be pre-emptive to pinpoint the cause of the accident now because it is still under investigation. This is the first amusement park we have operated and has been in business for four years.
“We underwent a lot of trainings and certification before we opened the park. The day the accident happened, our first aider was there but the injuries were so fatal that we had to evacuate the children immediately to hospitals. The technicalities that led to the accident will be unravelled in the cause of investigations.
“As a father, I am disturbed that a family has lost their children. This is not something you may wish your greatest enemy. I am deeply devastated that this family has lost two children.”
Govt condoles with family, seals up Oakland
Commissioner for Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority, ECTDA, Chidi Aro, who is the Chairman of the government committee to investigate the remote and immediate causes of the accident, said: “We are aware that the centre has a large volume of patrons. But the incident has forced them to lock down the place.
“The government committee has visited the facility, all the people who are injured and commiserated with the family that lost the children. We have asked a few relevant questions on the incident.
“Given the nature of the incident and determination of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State to bring this investigation to a thorough conclusion, the committee will work every day until we determine the remote and immediate causes of the incident.
“The preliminary finding shows that two children died in the incident and about seven were injured. We would not want to say anything further because at this point, it will be presumptive. We would brief the press in due course.
“We do not want to prejudge this incident. We have invited a team of experts from Abuja with the support of the governor, who knows the workings of the roller coffee cup. The team will be looking at the technical issues surrounding the accident. We assure Enugu people that once we have preliminary reports next week, we will hold a full press conference and let the people know.
“The governor mourns with the family of the deceased children. He feels there pain. He stands with them in this trying moment.”
Bereaved guardian expresses appreciation
Reverend Canon Emeka Onyema, the guardian to the deceased children, while expressing gratitude to the Enugu State Government for its show of support and solidarity, said: “I wish to express my deepest appreciation to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the entire people of Enugu State and indeed the Oakland management.
“It is sad to lose two people in a family. But as Christians, we still believe in God for who he is. Our faith in God will not be shaken. I am thrilled by the actions of government. The wife of the governor, Monica Ugwuanyi, was here to commiserate with us and the management of Oakland has been cooperating with us.”