By Ocholi Sarah and Abah Comfort
For Mrs Rose Akpang, the world seems to have come crashing like a pack of cards , owing to the death of her only child, Joy, on July 5, 2019. The 10-year-old Primary 1 pupil had left her parents abode at 5, Ogoluwa Street, Iyana Ipaja area of Lagos, hale and hearty, on the day, with a smile on her face as she bid her mother goodbye, unknown to the latter that it was farewell bade.
Hours later, Joy’s lifeless body was found inside a plastic bucket in her school, DELA MOG, located on Raji Oba street, Iyana Ipaja.
Surprisingly, there was no water in the bucket to suggest that she could have drowned. When Crime Guard visited the bereaved mother’s house, she was said to have been taken to her relative’s place, in order to be under close watch. This became necessary, owing to the devastating blow the death of Joy dealt her.
When she was traced to where she was taken to, Mrs Akpang, looked a shadow of her old self , with grief written all over her.
During an interaction with her, there were indications that the incident could have been averted had she taken cognizance of the signals of danger ahead. First , she was reluctant to allow her daughter to go to school four days before the incident. According to her, “ On Monday, being July 1, 2019, I did not allow Joy to go to school because I had not yet paid her school fees and the school authority would send her back home if the money was not paid. But about 11am, Joy got upset and said; ‘mummy why didn’t you allow me to go to school, my mates are in school receiving lessons and I am here doing nothing. When exam comes, how do you expect me to pass?”
Moved by these words, Mrs. Rose, said she tendered an apology to her daughter , promising to take her to school next day.
The second signal which indicated danger ahead, occurred next day, Tuesday, July 2, 2019. She said, “ While I was preparing her for school, she said she hoped two of her class mates (names withheld) won’t come to school that day. When asked why, she said they always used their chairs and tables to assault her in class and that they also attempted to strangle her. I was shocked at her confession and asked why she didn’t report to her class teacher. She said she always reported to her Phonics teacher but that he usually sent her away. I told her not to worry that all would come to an end”
Visit to school
Mrs Akpang said she visited the school and reported the matter to the Head Mistress who was also her late daughter’s class teacher. The pupils according to her ,were accosted but they denied late Joy’s claim at the initial stage. She added that other pupils in the class accused them of lying and corroborated late Joy’s claim.
The Head Mistress whose identity could not be ascertained, reportedly apologized on behalf of the erring pupils and confirmed that she personally caught them( erring pupils)on an occasion and punished them.
Explaining how news of her only child’s death reached her, she said, “ On Friday, July 5, 2019, I had prepared Joy for school as usual and she left around 8 am, healthy and sound, while I went to my shop at Abulodu, where I sell clothes, bags, wrappers and shoes.
By 1pm, I received a strange call. The caller told me that Joy went to the toilet. He hung up , without concluding the sentence .Few seconds later, I received another call from my brother who directed me to take a motorcycle to Okiki hospital, that my daughter was there. The way he sounded got me worried and I asked him if my daughter was dead and he said yes”
At this point, she kept quiet and started sobbing. When she resumed, she spoke in a low tone.
She said, “ I lost control . I had no idea of what I was doing or how I got to the hospital. Joy’s body was taken to a church after the doctor had confirmed she was dead. I did not see my baby’s remains until, Wednesday, the following week. That was when it dawned on me that she was indeed dead. She was buried that same day, Wednesday”, she said in tears.