By Evelyn Usman and Monsuru Olowoopejo
Hours after news filtered in that Air Vice Marshal Olufunsho Martins (retd) vehicle plunged into the lagoon, scores of relative thronged the Park View home of the deceased to commiserate with family of the deceased.
Retired Air Vice- Marshal Olufunsho Martin, Saturday, died in a lone accident with his driver on the Third Mainland bridge after his car somersaulted and plunged into the lagoon.
A Ford Explorer Sports Utility Vehicle, in which the Air Vice Marshal Olufunsho Martins(rtd) and his driver were, was brought out from the lagoon in the early hours of Sunday, by officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency , LASEMA and local divers, with both occupants dead.
Late Martin’s was said to be going to his Funsho Martin’s Avenue, Park View Estate, when the vehicle collided with another, at about 10.55pm, Saturday. It reportedly somersaulted before it plunged into the lagoon.
His true identity was revealed through an identity card found inside the vehicle , after it was brought out. Both bodies were thereafter, taken to the Nigerian Airforce hospital, Ikeja .
Information at Vanguard’s disposal has it that the late AVM had just returned from the United Kingdom , to attend the burial of a relative .
When Vanguard visited his home at about 6:00 pm Sundday, Sympathisers among who were his course mates, friends and relatives visited his Park View Estate residence, when news of his death filtered round.
Some of the sympathize could not hide their displeasure over the death of the deceased, stressing that he should not have been him considering his generosity.
Also, activities at his popular event and hospitality centre, Martinos, in Ikeja area of Lagos, was halted, following news of his demise.
One of his sons identified as Gbenga, declined comment, stressing that the family was yet to come to term with their father’s death.
A senior retired Military officer, who gave his name simply as Jimoh, told Vanguard that ” the deceased was an amiable fellow who did not deserve to die this way. But who are we to question God?
” We were told that he was on his way home when the incident happened yesterday night (Saturday). We were members of the 8th Regular Course of the NDA. He rose from the rank of 2nd Lt (NAF was still using Army ranks when he was commissioned to AVM). He held several appointments within the NAF. He was the commandant, Rehab Oshodi and AOL HQ NAF.”
Another cousin of the deceased who spoke on the condition of anonymity said ” Its so sad. His death has plunged us into sorrow. He died last night. Our prayer is that the good Lord grants repose to the soul of the departed and give succour to the bereaved. He gives and takes. We were informed that officials of LASEMA, recovered his body and that of his driver, around 2:30am. Parts of the vehicle were compressed, indicating the impact of the collision.”
The late General was also into real estate. The estate known as Golden Park Estate, is located at Kilometre 33 on Lagos-Epe expressway and Sangotedo.
Police sources said the retired Air force officer died together with his driver after their car, a Ford Explorer with number plates: GGE 456 BT, fell into the muddy section of the lagoon, midnight Saturday.
The deceased, who also owns a popular Events Centre, ‘Martinos’ located very close to Gani’s library and Regency Suits also close to Femi’s shrine at Alausa, Ikeja, was reportedly heading home after he attended the birthday party of one of his church members held at his hotel in Ikeja when the accident took place.
Though details of the crash were sketchy as at press time, police sources said it was a lone accident which made his car to somersault twice after which it plunged into the muddy section of the lagoon.
Officials of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, were said to have raced to the scene and succeeded in recovering the bodies of both the retired Air force officer and his driver intact.
Lagos state police spokesman, Famous Cole , who confirmed the incident said bodies of the victims and the wreckage of the car were brought to Yaba Police station around 2am on Sunday by officials of LASEMA.