…Students on rampage
…I panicked when I saw my son’s shoes at accident scene — mother of 17-year-old survivor
…Only 2 students died — Council boss, FRSC
…Lagos keeps mum on casualties
…NANS demands justice
…Why we shut schools — Lagos govt
…Says students’ death sad, unfortunate
…Buhari mourns, consoles parents, relations
…LASTMA dissociates men from incident
By Olasunkanmi Akoni, Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Adesina Wahab, Esther Onyegbula & Elizabeth Osayande
PARENTS of students of Ojodu Grammar School and Babs Fafunwa Millennium Senior Secondary School along Ogba-Ojodu Berger Road in Lagos State, yesterday, forced the Lagos State Government to temporarily shut the schools following an accident which claimed the lives of some pupils.
The incident, which happened on Tuesday afternoon, is said to have led to the death of no fewer than 10 students.
There were many students in the area at the time as they had just closed from school not too long before the accident happened.
The schools are close to the Ojodu police station.
Reacting to the incident, yesterday, parents and guardians converged on the schools and demanded that they should be shut and examinations discontinued.
The protest which started at about 8am forced the Lagos state government to close the school till further notice.
Also, students in large numbers, stormed the Ojodu-Berger Way along Ogunnusi Road, in protest, in reaction to the killing of their colleagues on Tuesday.
The irate students, who targeted trucks, vandalised some vehicles in the process.
However, men of the Rapid Response Squad, RRS, who were deployed to the area later restored law and order.
Motorists were also diverted to alternative routes to avoid being caught in the gridlock.
I panicked when I saw my son’s shoes at accident scene — mother of 17-year-old survivor
Meanwhile, when Vanguard visited the hospital where some of the injured students are recuperating, Grace Ezejiofor, the mother of a 17-year-old student of Ojodu Grammar School, Wisdom Ezejiofor narrated how she collapsed when she saw her son’s shoes at the scene of the accident.
Wisdom is currently receiving treatment at God’s Apple Hospital following injuries he sustained when a truck rammed into school children returning from school at Ojodu Grammar School Bus Stop.
Ezejiofor, who spoke to Vanguard, yesterday, at the hospital, while Wisdom was deep asleep, said: “I was in my shop when my daughter, who is in SS2 called to inform me of the accident involving a truck. She said she doesn’t know if Wisdom, her brother, is alive.
“When I got to the scene, I saw my son’s shoes; I screamed and said my son is among the victims. I was shouting and saying I want to see my son, where did they keep them. People at the scene were asking me to calm down, I was still at the scene when my daughter called and gave me the hospital location.
“Immediately I got here, I saw that they had already attended to him, he was on a drip. He sustained some injuries by his side, leg and waist. We have paid an initial deposit of N15, 000 to the hospital. They have done an x-ray and they said he has injuries in his waist and they would monitor him because he limps when he walks. The hospital has been treating him since morning.”
She, however, berated the local and state governments for not providing any financial assistance to the injured victims.
Ezejiofor said: “A lot of people have visited, both the local government chairman, the Commissioner of Education, principal and teachers. They didn’t ask me anything; they only told me to calm down and that everything will be okay.”
We paid initial deposit of N30,000 at the hospital — Parent
Also speaking, Mr Francis, father of another survivor, Akinkunmi Usain, who is also receiving treatment at the hospital, said his son is getting better.
Akinkunmi is in JSS 2, he is 12 years old.
He said: “We have paid N30,000 initial deposits to the hospital. I am an Uber driver. It was my younger sister that called to inform me of the accident. I was coming from Alausa when I received the call that my son had been involved in an accident. So I quickly navigated to the scene. My son attends Omole Junior Grammar School. The school principal and school teachers have come to the hospital to see my son. The local government chairman also came yesterday morning.”
NANS demands justice
Reacting to the incident, the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, Southwest Zone, yesterday, called for a thorough investigation into the role played by some security personnel and traffic-related outfits in the matter, saying any indicted person should be prosecuted.
The Coordinator of the association in the zone, Mr. Kappo Samuel said: “It is sad that the safety of the brightest and yet to be corrupted souls in Nigeria could not be protected by road safety (LASTMA/VIO) personnel whose interest is on the token to be collected from the defiant murderer (truck driver).
“The truck driver, alongside the LASTMA personnel, who worked Tuesday afternoon at Grammar School Bus Stop, along Ogba-Ojodu, collaborated to murder our future. This is coming at a period when the entire Nigerian students in the country are still mourning the death of Master Sylvester Oromoni.”
Similarly, a group of Concerned Citizens urged the Lagos State government to probe the accident and bring the culprits to book.
According to them, security agencies and traffic officers should devise reasonable and civil means of apprehending errant motorists and not chasing them all over town, thereby putting the lives of people in danger.
They called on the government to fish out those involved and bring them to book.
Only 2 students died — Council boss
Speaking on the incident, the Executive Chairman, Ojodu Local Council Development Area, LCDA, Segun Odunmbaku, yesterday, released identities of students, who lost their lives during Tuesday’s accident at Grammar School Bus Stop along Ogunnusi Road.
Odunmbaku identified the deceased students as Adedoyin Adebayo and Akpolebi Israel.
According to the council boss, the deceased and others, who sustained varying degrees of injuries, are students of Bab Fafunwa Millennium School, Ojodu Junior Grammar School, Omole Junior High School.
Besides, the two deceased, Odunmbaku noted that seven females and five males, totalling 12 victims, also sustained varying degrees of injuries.
…That’s true, only 2 students died, says FRSC
Similarly, the Sector Commander of Lagos Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, Olusegun Ogungbemide, said only two students died in the incident adding that 14 others were injured.
Ogungbemide said: “It was quite a pathetic situation on Tuesday; It was some minutes after 2 pm when we got the alert from the office that there was a crash around Ojodu Grammar School.
“The operatives were mobilised to the scene and they were able to rescue about seven of the students with the patrol vehicle to the emergency centre at Ojota, while some other passersby were able to help to pick up some other students along with us.
“As at the time we got to Ojota emergency spot, we had about 12 to 14 students injured that were taken to that hospital.
“It was on their way back to continue with the rescue operation that they got the information that the whole place has turned violent and there were attacks on the uniform men along that corridor alleged to be the cause of the crash.
“Where the news originated from, I wouldn’t know because as at that time the FRSC has no bearing whatever with the vehicle involved in the crash. No patrol activity was going on along that corridor.
“The fact that we share a corridor with a school could be what we suffered in what we experienced yesterday. It is quite unfortunate.
“The last information received yesterday is that about four of the students have been discharged by the hospital while the remaining ones are still receiving treatment.
“I would not be able to give a vivid account of what happened as regards the death toll because of the aftermath of the rescue where some of our facilities were attacked, so our men had to stay away but at the time they were doing the rescue, only two were seen to be lifeless.
“So I wouldn’t know if there was any fatality after that. It was during the first line of the rescue before our men were attacked.”
Why we shut school — Lagos govt
But speaking during an on the spot assessment of the situation, yesterday, at Ojodu Grammar School, the Lagos State Commissioner of Education Folashade Adefisayo said: “We closed down the school because we need the students to calm down.”
On the exact number of causalities, Mrs Adefisayo said: “The matter is being investigated by the police and it is them that can say how many people were involved. The state government is taking care of the treatment of those injured.
“We will issue a detailed press statement on the number of causalities that were involved in the accident and what caused the accident.”
Students’ death sad, unfortunate — Sanwo-Olu
Also, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu expressed sorrow over the death of the students.
Sanwo-Olu, in a condolence message by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Gboyega Akosile, said: “I commiserate with the parents, management, staff and students of Ojodu Grammar school over this unfortunate death of our students, whose lives were cut short by a truck driver yesterday.
“The sad incident has left me devastated since yesterday because it is terrible to hear about the death of innocent children, especially in a avoidable circumstance like what happened yesterday.
“As a parent, words cannot express how shattered I was when I learnt about the incident. No one’s life, including those vibrant students, who were returning from where they had gone to learn for a better future, deserved to be ended in that manner.
“Meanwhile, we have immediately ordered that the affected schools be shut down till January, while investigations are ongoing. The erring driver has also been arrested.”
Buhari commiserates with parents, relations
President Muhammadu Buhari, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina also condoled with the Government and people of Lagos State and the authorities of Ojodu Grammar School over the sad and painful loss of the promising lives that were cut short in the tragic incident.
President Buhari prayed that the Almighty God will comfort the grieving parents and relations “at this very difficult time, and grant the injured quick recovery.”
LASTMA dissociates men from incident
Meanwhile, the General Manager of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, Bolaji Oreagba has dissociated the agency from any involvement in the “unsubstantiated allegation” in the unfortunate incident.
Oreagba said: “From the reports we received on the incident, the driver is believed to have lost control of the vehicle, probably because of mechanical reasons. The police are still investigating the matter; the public should wait for their report.
“LASTMA does not have a traffic management duty post around the accident scene. And all patrol personnel had reported back to base for a daily parade as at the time the accident occurred leaving only those at their traffic management posts.”