4th April, 2012
No fewer than 13 school children suffered severe burns in the early hours of Wednesday when their school bus suddenly caught fire in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
The children, aged between five and 11 years, were pupils of Divine Wisdom Group of Schools located at Amosun, Lagelu Local Government Area of Oyo State.
The driver of the bus, Mr. Serif Oyedele, told newsmen that he was conveying the children to school when the vehicle suddenly stopped working at Iyana-Church area.
Oyedele said he pleaded with the older pupils to assist in pushing the bus, having discovered that it had flat battery.
“ After I checked and discovered that the bus had battery problem, I told some of the older ones among the children to assist me in pushing it.
“ But while pushing the bus, they told me that fuel was dripping from underneath the vehicle. As I tried to open the engine, flames emerged from the vehicle.
“ That was how the whole bus got burnt. It was when I was trying to rescue the children that I also got burnt in the hand and leg, but I was able to rescue seven pupils before people joined me,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 13 children in the bus suffered severe burns while those pushing the vehicle escaped unhurt.
NAN also reports that the injured pupils were later carried in a commuter bus and motorcycles to the University College Hospital (UCH) for proper medical attention.
Anxious parents around Wakajaye, Iyana-Church, Maku and Amosun communities besieged the scene of the incident to ascertain the condition of their wards.
Mrs. Oke Ejemuta, the proprietress of the school, who had rushed to UCH on learning about the incident, said the Ford bus was bought last year.
She said the driver, who was also a mechanic, was specifically employed to tackle any mechanical fault in the vehicle.
“This is certainly an arrow, but God is in control,’’ she added.