‘Our children must not die in vain’
Parents of the 11 students of Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU) crushed by truck in June, cry out for justice
THREE months after 11 students of the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State were crushed to death by a container-carrying truck, their bereaved parents have cried out over attempts to sweep the matter under the carpet.
They are unanimously appealing to the state Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Solomon Arase and human rights organisations to re-open the case and ensure that justice prevails on the matter.
The victims, Dairo Olatunji Michael, a fresh graduate of Physics; Asade Christianah Ibukun, Law 200 level; Odubanjo Eunice Oluwadamilola, Political Science 200 level; Ogunnoiki Omolade Mariam, EFM (History) 100 level; Aribiola Yetunde Elizabeth, Biochemistry 100 level; Adams Suliat Oluwatobi Accounting, 100 level; Pampam Funmilayo Latifat, Chemical Science 100 level; and a freshman, identified as Aminat Adebayo, who went to the school to complete her Post Jamb form, among others, lost their lives in a ghastly motor accident on the Sagamu/Benin Expressway, on their way home in a Sango-Ota-bound commercial bus on Friday, June 26, 2015.
They boarded the commercial bus with registration number (LAGOS) XV 311 MUS, heading towards Sango from Lagos garage, Ijebu-Ode. But on their way, at a spot near Ilishan area of the state, their bus collided with a truck marked BDG 779 XE, which drove against traffic, plying the same road as the bus, facing one another. The truck driver lost control and its two unlatched 20-feet containers came off and fell on the roof of the bus. The weighty containers crushed to death all the 11 passengers and the driver, excluding one survivor, Akinbo Laughter Ibukun, a Chemistry student, who was seriously injured.
The Guardian learnt that since the subsequent invasion of the company (name withheld) by students of the school, to protest the avoidable accident, followed by police investigation, noting has been heard about the issue till date. The loud silence is adding to the grief of the bereaved parents, who are alleging that the Sagamu Police Station where the case domiciled had been compromised.
Their fear is being provoked with the rumour that the institution had negotiated with the company and that an undisclosed amount of money had been released to the school authority to settle parents of the victims, without their knowledge.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the institution, Niyi Oduwole, denied this claim, saying he is not aware of such. “I am very sure that my institution has not collected any money.”
It was gathered that weeks after the incident, the police had released the truck to the company, with the claim that they were still in search of the driver, who, according to them, is at large. The parents claimed that since the issues surrounding the accident have not been resolved, the police should not have acted in that manner if they have not been bribed.
Speaking on behalf of other parents, Pastor Benjamin Asade, the Pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Chapel of Christ Bride, Dalemo, Sango, whose 200 level Law undergraduate daughter, Ibukun was also a victim, lamented that aside the condolence letter, accompanied by a lecturer, they have not heard anything about the issue again. He lamented that the company never in any way get in touch with them or sent any letter to them till date.
While noting that they are not after compensation because money cannot bring their children back to life, he stated that the Police have several questions to answer, as they are claiming ignorance on the whereabouts of the truck driver, three months after the incident.
“We heard that the truck had been released to the company weeks after the incident, yet they told us that the driver is still on the run. It is unfortunate that despite the governor’s visit to the hospital where the lone survivor was admitted, nothing has been said about the issue again. What type of justice system are we operating here?”
Even the legislators who should beam their searchlight on the recklessness of the driver and this erring company to save more lives, has kept mum on the issue. Who knows who the next victim would be? We even heard that the company had compensated the school on our behalf, which they denied. These children must not die in vain,” he pleaded.
From The Guardian’s keen observation of the parents, majority of them have not really overcome the shock of the tragic incident. The story of the father of the fresh student, who went to complete processing her post-JAMB form when she met her untimely death, is at present pathetic. He is gradually losing his mind with his irrational acts and conversations.
His gloomy look and appearance could easily portray his state of mind. But for the few of them who had taken solace in God, others have not really overcome the trauma of such irreparable loss.
They appealed to the IGP, Amosun and other well-meaning Nigerians to ensure that justice prevails, by ensuring that the company does the necessary things and also produce the driver, so that the death of their children would not be in vain.
Attempts to know what the OOU management is doing to ensure quick justice on the matter met a brick-wall, as the institution’s PRO, Oduwole said he was at a function and would not be able to respond to the issue. He told our correspondent to call back at a later date.
All efforts to get the State Police Public Relations Officer (PPR0), Muyiwa Adejobi, through his mobile line were not successful as at the time of filing his report.