“We want the Commissioner of Works to come and cover the drainage or we will not stop this protest. We want them to cover that death trap.” – Protester
Tony Osauzo, Benin
The death of a six-year-old kindergarten pupil in flood triggered protest by residents of Uselu community, in Egor Local Government Area of Edo State, yesterday.
The deceased, whose name was given as Segun, was said to be returning home from school with his mother, identified as Lateefat, when they fell into an open drainage at Omosogie junction, along Uselu-Lagos Road, after a downpour which lasted several hours on Monday.
The mother was said to have been rescued by a young man scavenging for metal pieces but the son was not so lucky as he swept away by flood. His body has yet to be found as at the time of writing this report, yesterday.
In the ensuing protest, the protesters blocked the road with bonfires while motorists were made to take alternative routes to Ugbowo and the King’s Square. In the process, the enraged protesters pulled down several sign boards of the Edo State Government in the area.
They said their anger stemmed from the inability of the State Government to send its officials to help find the pupil’s body.
Spokesman for the protesters, Mr. Oni Enoma, said the drainage was a death trap and a nightmare to them whenever it rains, promising that they would leave the streets if the state government began moves to cover the drainage.
“A woman and her baby fell into a death trap they call gutter. It was an Hausa man who dragged the woman out but the baby fell inside. We have not been able to find the body of the boy. We were surprised that nothing has been done by fire fighters and the state government; to find the body.
“We want the Commissioner of Works to come and cover the drainage or we will not stop this protest. We want them to cover that death trap.”
Also, another protester, Augustine Idahosa, said the incident happened at about 2:00pm on Monday.
“This is part of the N30 billion water storm project. We blocked the road to make the government come and recover the body,” he said.
A witness, who gave his name as Kehinde, told newsmen that it was an Hausa boy scavenging for scraps who saved the woman but her son fell in.
“I quickly jumped inside the gutter but the boy was already gone. We have searched everywhere but we did not see the body. The boy is scheduled for graduation to primary one next week,” he disclosed.
Policemen were on ground to prevent breakdown of law and order during the protest.
Similarly, at Okhoro junction, along New Lagos Road, in Benin City, a three-year old girl was also said to have been swept away by flood. The identity of the victim could not, however, be ascertained at the time of writing this report.