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My son asked me to pray for him before he left, says father of six-year-old who died in collapsed building

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When Abdulfatah Ayoola laid his hands on and prayed for Fawad, his son, he never knew that would be his last time of doing so. In the six years that the deceased spent on earth, the father prayed for him regularly but hardly had the request come from the boy. 

Fawad got to school, cheered his classmates and settled down for the day’s teaching without knowing it was his last day on earth. By 2pm, his corpse was retrieved from the rubble of the building that collapsed in the Ita-Faaji area of Lagos Island.

The three-storey building had a school inside it. When Akinwunmi Ambode, the governor, visited the scene, he said the school operated illegally. Residents also said the collapsed building had been marked for demolition and the occupants given notice to quit.

A school bag in rubble at the scene of collapsed building

But all these mean nothing to the families of Ayoola and all those who lost loved ones in the incident.

“He woke up late for school today. After taking his breakfast, he requested for money but I told him there’s no need for money since he has his lunch with him. Then he said, ‘daddy, pray for me  before I go’, and I did exactly as he requested. He walked to school which is just few metres from the house,” Ayoola said fighting back tears.

Neighbours had assembled in his two-room apartment. As the men in the living room consoled him, the voice of women crying in the inner room echoed into the living room. It was an atmosphere of gloom.

An aged woman rescued by LASEMA officials

“I don’t think I can sleep tonight. My late son and I did almost everything together; we ate together, prayed together, spent time discussing. I was introducing him to life because he was my eldest child,” Ayoola said.

The man of the house broke down in tears, narrating how he contemplated enrolling Fawad in another school but did not go ahead with the plan because his late son was rounding off his primary education.

“I visited Kings’ College not too long and liked the academic atmosphere. and I was assured that an interview date will be communicated to me soon but now I can’t take him there anymore because Fawad is gone.

LASEMA rescue team at the scene

“God gives and take, we cannot question Him. All I need to do now is pray for him, console the mother, I know of a family who lost four of their children in the building, what will be their fate? Praise be to Allah for everything.”

Fawad has been buried at the Ikoyi cemetery in accordance with Islamic rites.

TheCable gathered that the school had over 120 pupils. Of this figure, nine have been confirmed dead, some rescued and taken to the hospital while many are still trapped.

Officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) and other rescue agency were still at the scene when TheCable left the place at 8pm on Wednesday.

Ambode has promised that a full-scale investigation would be carried out but for now many are counting their losses.

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Lagos Matters

Vanguard Newspaper Editorial lauds Ambode over MMIA Road

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AS the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwumni Ambode, prepares to hand over the reins of power to his successor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, at Alausa on May 29, 2019, perhaps the greatest achievement for which he will never be forgotten is the conception and completion of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Road in Lagos.

Motorists who regularly use the road, on Thursday, April 11, 2019, noticed that full street lights had come alive on the first phase which starts from Oshodi and ends at the Ajao Estate U-Turn. The beauty of the project which is still proceeding at steady pace day and night, is a sight to behold, especially at night now that the lights have been installed.

This former four-lane road, which the Lagos State Government started reconstructing roughly two years ago, has been expanded into a ten-lane marvel with two flyover bridges at Mafoluku and Hajj Camp and at least one pedestrian overhead bridge at Ajao.

When fully completed it will be a world-class masterpiece befitting of a country that likes to pride itself as “The Giant of Africa”. It will be a stunning departure from the old road that signposted the shame of a nation.

The old MMIA Road, apart from being narrow, was potholes-infested, with furniture makers, petty traders, fuel stations and commercial buses/motorcycles (Okada) struggling for space with users of the road, which is supposed to be the number one gateway into Nigeria from all parts of the world.

The situation was worse at night when the unlit corridor which was overgrown with elephant grasses seemed to welcome foreign visitors to the “kingdom of darkness”. Happily, those days will soon be over.

Yet, the road to this accomplishment was not exactly strewn with roses. Governor Ambode, in March 2017, went public with his feeling of frustration at the delay in securing the Federal Government’s approval to start work on its own road.

He blamed his immediate predecessor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, the Minister of Works, Power and Housing for that. Fashola, however, denied the charge, pointing out that the delay was caused by adherence to due process.

All is well that ends well. Though Ambode will leave office disappointed for not getting the chance to serve for two terms, he can take solace in the outpouring of gratitude from all well-meaning Nigerians for this gesture of wiping the shame of the MMIA Road from the brow of the nation.

This is another confirmation that a serious government can start and finish major mega-projects within a term of four years.

We hope the road will be completed before May 29, 2019 to enable Governor Ambode entertain the honour and pleasure of hosting the inauguration of this game-changing signature project.

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Crime

Lagos ‘gay’ pastor arrested for infecting underage boys with HIV ‘attempts to molest a suspect in cell’

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The founder of Jesus Intervention Household Ministry, Ejigbo, Lagos, Chizemdere Ezuma, 32,  who was recently arrested, reportedly tried to sexually molest a suspect he was kept with in a cell at the Lagos State Police Command headquarters cell in Ikeja.

The suspect he attempted to molest was said to have raised an alarm and threatened to attack him if he went ahead with it. 

A police source told a Punch correspondent that the incident made policemen on duty to relocate him to another cell and kept an eye on him till the next morning.

“All the policemen on duty that night were amazed when the suspect complained that the pastor wanted to molest him. The suspect said the pastor was romancing his legs and when he was awake, the pastor gestured for him to come close,”

The source also added that the pastor who is being held in Police custody for allegedly sodomising, prostituting and infecting underage boys with HIV virus, did not deny the allegation when a policeman confronted him.

“He was taken to another cell that night and was kept under watch. He had been arraigned for sexual harassment.A boy (Shedrack) whom he was sleeping with was also charged with prostitution. The boy confessed to have slept with a lot of men in exchange for money.“He was remanded in a correctional home while Ezuma was remanded in prison custody,” 

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Crime

2 UNILAG Students Arraigned In Court For Attempting To Rape Coursemate In Hotel

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Two students of the University of Lagos who attempted to rape their course mate on Thursday has appeared before a Yaba Chief Magistrates’ Court on a 5-counts charge.

The students identified as Ikedi Okpanlanedu, 21 and Samuel Idongesit, 20. Both students are facing charges of conspiracy, attempted rape, assault, impersonation and threatening violence.

Police Sgt. Modupe Olaluwoye, who prosecutes the case, told the court that the undergraduates invited the course mate who was a makeup artiste to an hotel and attempted to rape her.

The sergeant also told the court that the defendants committed the offence at 4:40pm on April 1, at Peace Land Hotel, Folagoro, Lagos State.

Olaluwoye also said that the defendants invited the make up artiste with the promise that they wanted to introduce her to someone who needs her services.

The case submitted…
“My lord, they strangled her because she was calling for help. It was a hotel staff, Mr Ohaeri Godlove, who heard her screaming and called the hotel security.“Okpanlanedu claimed to be an army personnel, and threatened to stab her with a knife he was holding, if she would not co-operate with them.“The knife was recovered from the crime scene, and we intend to tender it in evidence,” she said. The alleged offences contravene Sections 411, 262, 170 (1), 380 and 56 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015 (Revised). The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that attempted rape attracts 14 years’ imprisonment while impersonation is punishable with three years’ jail term. The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges, and were granted bail by Chief Magistrate Peter Ojo in the sum of N200,000 with two sureties each in like sum. Ojo directed that the sureties must be gainfully employed and possess evidence of three years’ tax payment to the Lagos State Government. The case was adjourned until June 26 for mention.

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