Aftermath Of Boat Mishap: Lagos Gives Succour To Riverine Community


Reprieve came to Ojota Riverine community in Otto-Awori Local Council Development Area, LCDA, of Lagos State, southwest Nigeria, at the weekend when the Lagos State Government handed over three tricycles to the community as a means of transporting their children to school in a neighbouring community.

Ten school children and two women had drowned on 13 February, 2012 when the boat conveying them to school at Igbede community on dry land capsized, while 10 others escaped death. The tragic incident occurred during the rainstorm that wreak havoc on the Lagos metropolis.

The government also constructed a road to Ese-Offin where St. Phillips Primary School is located. The tricycle will now convey the children to Ese-Offin to school, instead of the children crossing the river with local boat to school at Igbede.

The state government further handed over undisclosed sums of money to the families of the 10 children who drowned in the mishap.

Commissioner for Rural Development, Cornelius Ojelabi, commisioned the new Ojota-Ese-Offin Road and handed over the tricycles to the community at the weekend, saying that the era of crossing the river in canoes to school was over.

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According to the commissioner, “after the boat mishap of 13 February, 2012, when two adults and 10 children lost their lives while going to school in Igbede in Ojo Local Government, the state governor was disturbed and he ask that a palliative measure be put in place pending the time that the state will be buoyant to build a link bridge for the children to be going to school instead of risking their lives on water every day.

“It was then decided that a road should be opened from Ojota to Ese-Offin which is about four kilometres long so that the children will not have to travel on water anymore.”

He informed the community of the formation of a 5-man committee, comprising two members of Ojota Community, two members from Education Authority and one from the LCDA, to oversee the smooth operation of the tricycles so that they would be beneficial to the people.

Giving the families of the victims of the boat mishap compensation, the commissioner urged them not to see the money as compensation for the lives of their children but rather, a gesture from the government to cushion the effect of the loss on them, particularly since most of them could not go back to their means of livelihood immediately after the ugly incident.

—Kazeem Ugbodaga