Scene of the incident
Fear and uncertainty has enveloped Oke-Ekoro, Sango area of Ogun State, over the whereabouts of a nine-year-old boy, Gbenga Gbadamosi, who was seen being swept away by flood on Tuesday.
It was learnt that the community had experienced a downpour before the incident occurred.
When our correspondent visited the area on Wednesday, youths and other members of the community were seen draining the water in a gully in the area with the hope of retrieving the body of the youngster. As of 12noon when the exercise was completed, no body was found there.
Our correspondent learnt that Gbenga fell into a canal in the area while attempting to pick his sibling’s slippers which had fallen into the water. It was initially believed that the water in the canal swept Gbenga into the gully.
The community leader, Emmanuel Keshiro, told PUNCH Metro that although the rain fell for a short time, it was quite heavy.
He said, “Gbenga and two of his siblings were coming from their mother’s shop after the rain. They were walking by the edge of the canal, when the slippers of one of them fell into the canal.
“Gbenga, being the first child, wanted to pick it, but his leg slipped into the canal and the flood swept him away.
“The two siblings were only crying, so nobody knew what happened until they ran to the shop and told their mother. She was the one that raised the alarm.”
Our correspondent visited the scene and observed that the canal passed through the community to connect with another town. Weeds and grass cover up the surface of the gully, which also has sharp pointed edges.
Gbenga’s father, Agunbiade, a driver, said he was at his place of work when he heard the news.
He said his wife had earlier informed him of the rain and he told her to hurry home to look after the children.
“When it was evening, I began to dial her line to know her whereabouts. I discovered it was switched off. Someone later called to inform me that flood had swept my son away. I was shocked.
“Gbenga is my first child and he was a well-behaved and gentle child. I love him so much because even everybody in the area knows him for his quiet conduct. I can’t still believe what is happening now.”
He decried the attitude of the police and the fire service to the situation, which he described as nonchalant.
A resident, Bomi Akintade, said the police merely put up appearance at the community on Tuesday and left the residents to grapple with the crisis.
He said the residents started rescue efforts at 4pm on Tuesday till late into the night and resumed 6am on Wednesday.
He said, “We have employed all means to no avail. This water came from Joju, a neigbouring town. It is unfortunate that the government has not been helpful. It was even the landlords’ association that constructed the bridge over the canal. We will continue to search for the boy.’’
Another resident, Lawal Mansour, said it was the second time in three years, that such tragedy would befall the community.
He appealed for the intervention of the Ogun State Government to help in building a safe water channel.
The state’s Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, confirmed the incident. He said, “The case was reported at Ota division.”