Tragedy struck last week in Dattawa, in the Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State, as four children suffocated after mistakenly locking themselves in a car.
The children – Umar Mansir (male, 9); Maryam Salisu (female, 12); Sadiyya Bashir (female, 7); and Fatima Ibrahim (female, 3) – lived with their parents in Rigasa Quarters and always played together.
However, their parents were said to have gone out on Thursday, 28 April, and one of them left his Honda Civic car unlocked in the compound.
The children were reported to have entered into the car and later closed the door.
It was said that one of them pressed the lock button and as the car got heated, the children became trapped.
A resident said the kids suffocated, adding that their parents did not know they were dead until they came back home in the evening.
He said, “The incident happened on Thursday, but the police did not get to know until the following day.
“The children lived in the same compound. Their parents went out on a visit that day and they started playing on the premises of their building.
“Later, they got into the car and locked the doors. When the heat became too much, they made efforts to get out to no avail. We saw scratches on the vehicles upholstery and the marks of their hands on the windows.
“However, they could neither get out nor find help and they died in the car. When their parents returned, they started searching for them. When the search was futile, somebody decided to check the car, and the children were there, dead.”
Our correspondent gathered that the incident threw the whole neighbourhood into mourning.
The corpses were kept till the following morning, after which they were buried.
A police source said the police in the Rigasa area got wind of the incident on Friday and stormed the area.
He said, “The families did not report to the police for reasons best known to them. By the time the police got to the place on Friday, the residents had already prepared the corpses for burial. The whole community was in tears. The children were buried that day in accordance with Islamic rites.”
The Police Public Relations Officer, Kaduna State, Zubairu Abubakar, confirmed the incident, adding that the police had started investigations.
He said, “The incident happened on Thursday, but we learnt about it on Friday, April 29, 2016. The lifeless bodies of the four children were traced to a Honda Civic car parked in the compound. Investigation is in progress.”