84-year-old Madam Nimota Ogunro who lost her two grand children age four and two years respectively said she will forever live with the guilt of not listening to her four old grandson Alabi.
The grandma who lost two of her grandchildren under her care summed up her agony while pointing to the spot where one of her grandchild was exhumed from the rubble of the collapsed three-storey building housing a children’s school at Massey Street, Itafaji in Lagos State on Wednesday.
Their mother, identified only as Monsuratu, but who the grandma continuously referred as Iya Alabi had that morning dropped off her children for the grandma to take to the crèche of the school. As Munsuratu left, the granny hurriedly prepared them to join their mates for the school assembly at the top floor of the building where the school was situated. But unlike the previous days, the older boy, Alabi, insisted he was not going to school on that day.
This was strange to the old woman as the boy had always been enthusiastic to learn. “So, I tried to persuade him, asking if there was anything I could do to make him change his mind. At that point Alabi requested I feed him along with his younger brother who was been fed at the time. Though odd I tried to satisfy him if only that could persuade him to hurry up as they were already late.
“In spite of all these however, Alabi still refused to put on his shirt and leave for school. By this time I was already angry and I had to flog him and practically dragged him and his younger one to join their mates at school. That decision is now hunting me as I’m feeling guilty for dragging them to their early graves.
“If I had known, I would have listened to the instincts of one of my grandchild, who insisted he wasn’t going to school on that day and hesitated even when I forced and practically dragged him to his death. If I had applied some wisdom, perhaps, he and his younger one would have been alive today. This is one guilt I’ll die with.”
I’ll have to die with that guilt,” the grandma sobbed at her resident behind the collapsed building on Thursday that her life had been shattered by the tragic end of her grandchildren. “Nobody expected what happened on that day,” she said, adding, “I’d not wish my worst enemy what I am passing through now. I know my days are numbered as I no longer want to stay in this wicked world. What I am living for? Why would this happen to me at this age? How can I ever be able to explain what had happened? How can I ever stop thinking about this unfortunate incident?”
Meanwhile, Madam Sidikatu, a confidant of Ogunro who was on hand to console her friend said she also lost some relatives to the ill-fated building as well. The 86-year old woman explained that the neighbourhood had been their ancestral home where they had all lived in peace.
Sidikatu used the occasion to plead with the state government not to demolish their houses as been rumoured since the unfortunate occurrence. She explained that the building which was in front of theirs might have been possessed by evil spirits. Sidikatu said: “No tenant ever stayed up to one year in that house. They have been coming and leaving almost immediately.
This was why we suspected the building haboured evil spirits. We even leant the owners of the school were looking for a better place to relocate to before this unfortunate incident. “The night before the incident we heard something like a quake coming from the building and we thought the evil spirits were having their usual meeting. It was after the building came down about 10 the following morning that we heard what happened the night before could have been a sign that it was disintegrating. But the problem is with the developers; they will come and start putting more floors to already weak structures.
This is why the authorities should go after them and not force us out of our ancestral homes. Where do they want us to relocate to?”