One year on, parents of 11 students crushed to death await justice

olabisi-onabanjo-university_oouVarsity now has life assurance policy for students, according school’s PRO 
Truck driver still wanted, police say
It was exactly one year yesterday that the lives of 11 students of Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, were prematurely cut short in a fatal motor accident. They were crushed to death by a container-laden truck on Friday, June 26, 2015, which they boarded from the Lagos garage in Ijebu-Ode.

The victims, Asade Christianah Ibukun, Law 200 level; Dairo Olatunji Michael, a fresh graduate of Physics; Odubanjo Eunice Oluwadamilola, Political Science 200 level; Ogunnoiki Omolade Mariam, EFM (History) 100 level; Aribilola Yetunde Elizabeth, Biochemistry 100 level; Adams Suliat Oluwatobi Accounting, 100 level; Pampam Funmilayo Latifat, Chemical Science 100 level; and a freshman, identified as Aminat Adebayo, who went to the school to complete her Post-JAMB form, among others, lost their lives in a ghastly motor accident on the Sagamu-Benin Expressway.

They met their untimely death at a spot near Ilishan area of the state, when their bus collided with a truck marked BDG 779 XE, which drove against traffic. The truck driver, Monsuru Adekunle, lost control and its two unlatched 20-feet containers came off and fell on the roof of the bus.

The container crushed to death all the 11 passengers and the driver, excluding one survivor, Akinbo Laughter Ibukun, a Chemistry student, who was, however, seriously injured.

One year on, while their bodies have been laid to rest, their souls are still crying for justice, as their devastated bereaved families endlessly wait on the police and state government for a closure.

From the police end, the case is being bungled as the police claim the erring driver, who fled the scene of the accident, is yet to be found. Parents of the bereaved are, however, appealing to the state governor, Ibikunle Amosun, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, and Human Rights organisations to re-open the case and ensure justice prevails.

The Guardian learnt that since the invasion of the company (name withheld) by students of the school, to protest what they described as an avoidable accident, followed by police investigation, there has been loud silence from the police, the university and government, which promised to see to the end of the matter at the time.

“The only news from the Sagamu Police Station, where the case is domiciled was that the driver has been declared wanted, even though we have it on good authority that the truck has since been released to its owner.

“We even hear that university had negotiated with the company and that an undisclosed amount of money had been released to the school authority to settle parents of the victims, without our knowledge,” one of the bereaved parents alleged.

Pastor Benjamin Asade, parish pastor of Chapel of Christ Bride, of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Dalemo, Sango, whose 200 level Law undergraduate daughter, Ibukun was among the victims, lamented that besides the condolence letter delivered by a lecturer, they have not heard anything about the issue again. He added that the owner of the truck called him for the first time last week Tuesday.

While noting that he is not after compensation because money cannot bring his daughter back to life, he said the police have several questions to answer, as they are claiming ignorance on the whereabouts of the truck driver one year after the incident.

The owner of the truck, Alhaji Rafiu Atanda, told The Guardian that the incident was beyond his might, which made it impossible for him to visit all the bereaved parents. He noted that he had only met one of the parents and family of the bus driver, claiming that he was afraid of mob attack, which is why he has been quiet.

“We are yet to see my driver and the truck is still being held. We have declared him wanted in the newspapers. Up till now, we have not seen him. Even his family claimed not to know his whereabouts. I did not receive any money from any insurance company, as alleged because the vehicle was not insured.

“The insurance policy on the vehicle is third party and nobody gave me any money. I am ready to meet with parents, but my fear is if I won’t be attacked. Since the incident happened I have been in serious agony, I have only two trucks.”

The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the institution, Niyi Oduwole, denied the claim that the institution received any money from the company. “Why not go to the company and ask, why will they settle the school, is the school the parents? That could not have been possible, it’s not possible and we are not the next of kin, why should the company give the school any money?

“It is a criminal case. More so, it happened outside the university. After that incident, the school has instituted a life assurance policy for all its students, in case of accident. It was a sad issue that we don’t always want to remember,” he said.

The Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer (PPR0), Muyiwa Adejobi, said the information that the truck had been released is a lie, noting that he confirmed it from the Area Commander, Sagamu Police division that the truck is still in their premises. He noted that the driver has not been arrested but has been declared wanted by the police.

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