As Nigerians revelled in the activities marking the birth of Jesus Christ, tragedies were recorded in different parts of the country on Christmas Day.
In Lagos, the family of Boluwatife Oyeleye, a final year Urban and Regional Planning student of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State, was thrown into mourning as she was killed by a hit-and-run driver in the Ajah area of Lagos.
The Punch learnt that the 23-year-old had just alighted from a vehicle and was about to cross the Lekki-Ajah Expressway at the Ilaje-Ajah end when she was hit by a yet-to-be identified driver.
It was gathered that she was dropped by the roadside by a motorcyclist after no motorist volunteered to take her to a hospital and she subsequently died there.
A colleague of the deceased, who identified himself only as Kareem, said Boluwatife was her parents’ only child.
“She was in her final year. We were told that she was listening to music through her earphones and that prevented her from hearing the car’s hoot,” he added.
An official of the Federal Road Safety Corps said the agency received a call about the accident around 9pm.
He explained that on getting to the scene, the officials were informed that her family had been contacted and the body handed over to them.
The FRSC official said, “We got a report about the accident. There is no pedestrian bridge at the point where she was hit. She had just been dropped off by a vehicle and I believe she wanted to cross to the other side of the road.
“Immediately we received an alert, we went there to see if we could assist her to a hospital or know if she had been taken to any hospital around by someone. But the motorcycle riders in the area said her family came to take her remains. It was unfortunate. We heard that she used earphones to block her ears.”
The Punch saw a copy of the victim’s identity card, which identified her as a student of the OOU.
It was learnt that the Ajah Police Station was the closest to the scene of the accident.
The police spokesperson, CSP Chike Oti, confirmed the accident.
He noted that Boluwatife’s corpse had been deposited in the Lagos Island General Hospital mortuary.
Oti stated, “It was a case of hit-and-run, which occurred around 8.30pm. The victim was attempting to cross the expressway when she was knocked down by an unidentified vehicle. She died on the spot.
“Her corpse was removed and deposited in the Lagos Island General Hospital morgue for autopsy. The case was reported by her father, Luke Oyeleye, who lives in Ajah Lamgbasa.”
In Ogun State, no fewer than three persons were confirmed dead in road crashes in different parts of the state on Christmas Day.
It was gathered that 22 people were also injured in the crashes.
A statement by the Ogun State Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps, Clement Oladele, said the crashes occurred along the Benin-Ore Expressway, Abeokuta-Sagamu Road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Idiroko-Owode international route.
The first crash reportedly claimed two lives, while three others were injured.
All the 16 passengers were injured in the second crash, one person was injured in the third crash and the fourth crash claimed a life, leaving two others injured.
The sector commander said all the injured persons were taken to the nearest hospitals.
Oladele stated, “The first crash occurred around 2.30am on the Benin-Ore Expressway by the Omo River at J4, near Ogbere, and it involved five male adults. Three persons were injured and two people were killed. Two vehicles were involved; a Toyota Sienna with number plate AAA 113 XY and a Bedford truck with number plate XB 538 GBD. The injured persons were taken to the Roono Hospital, Ijebu-Ode.
“The second crash occurred around 10.25am on the Abeokuta-Sagamu Road around the Day Waterman College, involving 16 persons – 10 male adults and six female adults. All 16 persons were injured. The two vehicles involved were a Toyota Hiace bus with number plate ABG 121 XA, and a Castar pickup with number plate LSD 126 XR. The victims were taken to the General Hospital, Abeokuta.
“The third crash occurred around 10.35am on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway by the main gate and it involved two adult males. One person was injured. A Volvo truck, with number plate MEK 721 XA, was involved. There was no death recorded in the crash and the injured victim was taken to the Supreme Global Hospital, Sagamu.
“The fourth crash occurred around 7.20pm on the Idiroko-Owode international route, which involved three male adults. Two persons were injured. One male adult was, however, killed in the crash. Two motorcycles were involved in the crash – one Bajaj motorcycle with number plate EKY 465 QH and an unregistered motorcycle. The injured victims were taken to the Ota General Hospital.”
Oladele advised motorists to remember that the areas where diversions were removed on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway were still construction zones and motorists should, therefore, maintain the stipulated 50km per hour maximum speed as well as refrain from overtaking other vehicles until they were clearly out of the construction zones, adding that violators were liable to be prosecuted.
Residents of Mabel Street in the Etete area of Benin City, Edo State, were thrown into mourning on Tuesday when a family of three was burnt to death as fire razed their apartment.
It was learnt that the fire, which started around 2am, resulted from a gas explosion caused by a lighted candlestick.
It was gathered that one Silvanus Uku, his wife and their baby were burnt beyond recognition inside their apartment at No 53 Mabel Erewa Close, off Etete Road, before help got to them.
It was learnt that other residents of the building lost their properties to the fire.
The landlord, Egberamwen Enobakhare, who said he noticed that smoke was coming from the deceased’s room, added that the fire started from a gas cooker.
“I forced the door opened and saw flames from the gas cooker; there was nothing I could do. I was totally helpless and could not go in. That was how the family died in the inferno,” he said.
One of the tenants, Osayande Joseph, who noted that she was only able to pick her child, said she escaped being burnt by fleeing through the back door of the building.
When contacted, the state Director of Fire Service, Franklin Agbonlahor, said he could not comment on the incident as he was on holiday.
“I’m on holiday now and until I get detailed information about the incident, I cannot give any information to anybody. I will be available in the office tomorrow (Thursday) and I will get a detailed report then,” he stated.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Chidi Nwabuzor, who confirmed the incident to The Punch, said the Etete Police Station received the situation report and contacted the state fire service.
He added that the inferno had wrecked havoc before the fire service could get to the scene.
Nwabuzor said, “It is true that on December 25, 2018, the Etete Police Station received a situation report that there was a fire incident at No. 53 Mabel Erewa Close, GRA, Benin City, the property of one Enobakhare.
“The police went there and met the building still burning, but unfortunately, before the Edo State Fire Service could respond, the fire had actually caused havoc and consumed one Mr Silvanus Uku, his wife and their baby, and the properties of other occupants of that house.”