*Flood sweeps 11-year-old boy, rescuer to death, destroys property.
It was a wet Saturday in Lagos as tragedies occurred following a heavy downpour across the state, mother, her two children and sister died in a collapsed building incident during the heavy rainfall at Magodo, Ikosi-Isheri Local Council Development Area, LCDA, of the state.
In another sad incident, heavy flood swept away an 11-year-old boy and his rescuer, one Wasiu into a canal in Aboru and Iyana-Ipaja area of Alimosho Local Government Area, LGA, following the overflow of the canal as a result of storm water.
The deceased woman, Mrs. Jumiah Utache, mother of two children, two-year-old Domino Utache, a year-old Daniel Utache and nine-year-old Faith Emmanuel, (wife’s sister) all died on Saturday morning at 48 Arisha Water Front Otun Araromi Street, Magodo Phase 1 when their building collapsed.
The incident which occurred during the heavy rainfall before midday, saw the husband, Mr. Emmanuel Utache, who sustained different degrees of injuries being rushed to a hospital in an unknown destination before arrival of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA for the rescue operation.
LASEMA later recovered and bagged remains of the dead Utache family and relative, were handed over to their extended family members.
Also, in another unfortunate incident, residents of Aboru and Iyana-Ipaja in Alimosho area of Lagos were in mourning mood as heavy flood swept away an 11-year-old boy and his rescuer, one Wasiu into a canal linking Aboru and Iyana-Ipaja on Ige Road, following the overflow of the canal as a result of storm water.
It was gathered that two young boys sent by their parents to buy cooking gas at a gas station unknowingly fell into the drain through which water passed into the canal.
According to an eyewitness, “Three young men attempted rescuing the boys and succeeded in rescuing the older one, but one of the rescuers popularly known as Wasiu Stubborn was swept away while trying to rescue the other victim,”
Also, another eyewitness, Mr Suleiman Adedokun, and a shop owner beside the canal said that the rescuer, named “Wasiu Stubborn “, entered the drain to rescue the boy but the flood swept both of them away into the canal.
“Wasiu tried, succeeded in catching the second boy but his effort to come out of the drain proved futile as it was not easy for him due to the force of the water.
“It is the bad road and narrow culvert that caused these deaths because these two children that fell inside the drain didn’t know it was there as water covered everywhere,” Adedokun said.
A furniture maker, Mr Gift Wejem, who lamented, said that flood had severally swept away furniture, materials, machines and generator whenever the canal overflowed its bank.
However, an officer of the Lagos State Neighborhood Safety Corps, LSNC, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the agency got the information at about 9:00 am that flood carried away one Mr Wasiu a.k.a, stubborn while trying to rescue two children.
He said that the LSNC had made efforts and called relevant agencies of government, who he said might arrive the scene anytime.
“We are trying to locate the parents of the children and also to contact the family of Wasiu,” the LNSC officer said.
Speaking to newsmen, at the scene, Mr Solomon Agboghoroma, a Community Development Association leader in Oki town, regretted the development, blaming the failure of government to construct a bridge in the area for such incidents.
Narrating ordeal of landlords and residents in the area, Agboghoroma, said that anytime it rained there is always flood, saying there was the need to expand Aboru road and build a bridge at Cement Bud Stop to forestall recurrence of such tragedy.
Agboghoroma said. “This rain started almost four or five days ago but the one of last night was one of the heaviest and it started at about 2:15 am and by 3:15am, it came with full force and everywhere was flooded.
“At about 7:30 am or 8:00am, we learnt that an OPC member, who was security guard in one of the gas stations here was carried away by flood while trying to rescue two children who came to buy gas but fell into the drain.
“The gas station had not opened because of the flood as the whole place including the canal had overflowed its banks.
“The children misplaced their legs and the two of them fell inside the gutter. This OPC boy went and rescued one but in the process of rescuing the second child, he and the boy fell into the canal and that was the end,”
He blamed the government for the tragedy, saying that several petitions had been written to successive governments in the state from the time of former Governor Babatunde Fashola to the last administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
“People have been dying in situation like this here and all landlords have tried, including raising almost N4 million for dredging of the canal.
“The government knows what to do when it is ready because this canal contract was award sometime in 2011 or 2012. When we taxed ourselves, Fashola came and commended us and promised palliative and government takeover.
”The government should come and do the bridge as against this culvert that is here. This flat culvert cannot contain water. The government should widening this road and ensure the canal is dug for the peace and safety of residents,” he added.
According to the Chief Executive Officer, CEO, LASEMA, Dr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, further investigations, revealed that aside from the heavy downpour, the obviously old building constructed with mud bricks had been seriously distressed over time with visible cracks on the other yet-to-collapse sides.
“In order to avert danger to adjoining buildings and other users of the environment, LASEMA has recommended strongly that it remains be pulled down, the debris removed and the property forfeited to the Lagos State Government as stipulated by law, ” Oke-Osanyintolu said.