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Ejigbo community mourns boy, 8 who drowned searching for plastic bottle cover


By Bolaji Adebayo

a diver during the search for the drowned boy

The incident happened on Monday last week. onyekachi Umeh, an 8-year-old boy, and his cousin, a 9- year old had left their home at No 15, Ganiyu Street Ejigbo, to pick plastic bottle covers to play near the canal at Baptist Street behind Orilowo in Ejigbo, about eight kilometres away.

It was gathered that the little boys, sometimes four in number, had always come to the place to pick bottle covers knowing they would get enough there. But elderly some residents, who knew the dangerous terrain, had always sent them away from the canal area.

“I have always pursued the boy and his colleague from the canal any time I see them there looking for plastic bottle covers. I don’t know where they come from but I always send them away from the canal. In fact, I sent them away that afternoon, not knowing that they came back there. It is a pity that he finally lost his life inside the canal,” one of the residents in the area told Echonews.

Narrating the incident to our correspondent, Obe said the chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Rev Oyinlola alerted him.


“On that very day, it was a sunny day, I was called by the chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) who alerted me that a boy had drowned in the canal at Baptist Street, behind Orilowo. I immediately went there. I called the officers of the Lagos State Fire Services at our secretariat. In fact, I was amazed by their prompt response because they arrived at the scene in less than 10 minutes. We wanted to be sure there was a body inside the canal.

“The CAN chairman who alerted me said he was moved by the cry of the other boy who came along with the one who got drowned in the canal. It was the one who survived that alerted the residents. I invited all the security personnel including the LNSA, the police, and the firefighters. The firefighters brought all their divers who entered the canal and started looking for the boy whether he was alive or dead, just for us to be sure that a body was inside the flood.

“The firefighters who entered the water began searching for his body s about 3 pm on Monday but could not find anybody till about 9 pm. Later, a diver who was just recruited by the fire service was invited all the way from Agbara. When the guy came, he just entered the water and brought out the dead body of the boy in less than 10 minutes. That was around 11 pm to 12 am.

“We couldn’t locate the parents. I told the police to take his partner to their station and investigate him. He was sharp enough to give them some phone numbers but all the numbers were not reachable. It was a passerby who claimed to have once sent them away that said they told him that they came from Ganiyu Street.

“We traced their parents to the street but we could not locate them. Though the neighbours recognised the boy and confirmed they lived in the street, we could not get the mother, she was nowhere to be found. We went there again in the night we still could not find her. It was then we learned that the father of the boy has died and that the boy was the only child. The woman had brought the second boy from her village in the Southeast to live with her.


“After recovering the dead body, we took it to the mortuary at Isolo General Hospital. They initially rejected the remains, claiming that they could not take the remains of an underage, that we should take them to Yaba. But it was too late in the night, it was around midnight. After much talk, they admitted the remains and we paid all expenses requested.

“We returned to the police station and later we got the mother who lost her husband about two years ago. She was speechless, we could not get much from her because she was just crying.

“Indeed, the water in the canal is toxic, we had to take those firefighter officers who first entered the canal to search for the body to our health centre for treatment.”

Though Obe blamed the incident on the negligence of the mother, he said the man-made canal was a danger zone.

According to him, the canal was dug by the Ojomu family to scoop filling sands from the area which later expanded to become a big canal and has since been a dangerous zone to the people, especially the little children.


Although, the council boss said the local government authority under his leadership immediately started working in the area, putting a perimeter fence around the canal to save people. He, however, said the project is beyond the capacity of the local government, calling for the state government’s intervention.

“We have started our effort to make the place safe, the state government needs to come in quickly to cordon off the area and clear the area. The area is not good for people to live,” he said.