Ikechukwu Okoro, the father of a four-year-old boy, who fell inside a canal, has demanded his son’s remains for burial.
Okoro, who lives in Obawole and Onibata communities in the Ifako Ijaiye Local Government Area of Lagos State, had been in a state of confusion since incident occured on April 11, when the Chukwuemeka Okoro was carried away by the flood.
Since the happening, the family had made several efforts, visiting different water channels in order to retrieve the boy’s corpse.
Okoro stressed that the family only needed Chukwuemeka’s body for funeral rites as demanded by tradition.
The City Gazette gathered that it was rainy day when Chukwuemeka and two of his cousins boarded a motorcycle to visit one of their uncles.
As the rain continued, the motorcycle rider had to stop sometime.
Chukwuemeka and his two cousins discontinued their visit to avoid being drenched by the rain as they stood in front of a gate, close to an open drainage channel covered by flood.
Shortly after, the child slipped and fell into the drainage, as his body passed through a nearby canal at Obawole.
All efforts to retrieve the remains of the child proved abortive.
In an interview with journalists, Okoro disclosed that, “When we reported to the police, they said we came late. They told me that we should have reported earlier. I told them I didn’t even know whom to report when the incident happened. We were not able to report this incident on time because we were hoping to see the boy’s body. On every search there were more than 50 people.
“From Onibata here, this canal led to Ajuwon, so we went there. We followed it down. From there, we went to Alagbole. From there, we took the search to Akute-Odo, where people told us that the river was unconnected to the one we told them about. We have even extended our search to Kara. We only need to find the body so as to perform our traditional rites.”
There were worries that the water might have taken the child far away from the community.
Chukwuemeka’s uncle, David, called to the state government to repair the drainage to avoid similar occurrence in the future.
He said, “I will appeal to the government to repair the drainage. Anytime rain falls, the place is a no-go area. They should also cover all the drainage channels in the area. This is because if the place was covered as normal channels should be, this incident would not have happened. This could happen to anyone’s child.”
Spokesperson for the Lagos State Ministry of Environment and Water Services, Mr Kunle Adeshina, while consoling parents of the missing child, stated that most of the tiled drainage in the State was not covered.
Speaking further, he revealed that the state government was planning to tile the Obawole Canal to allow free flow of water during the rainy season.
He said, “The Obawole canal is an earth canal. What this means is that the canal is in its natural state. It is not something that has been lined. However, the state government is preparing to line it. When we line it with concrete, it will enhance its capacity. This will be done soonest.
“However, when we had a rain forecast press briefing, one of the things we discussed was for the people to shun the idea of jumping into a flood when it is raining. It is very dangerous. People should remain wherever they are for the rain to subside before they jump into it. We will continue to educate our people on this. There is a level that water will reach even if it is a vehicle, it will move it.”