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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

We did not approve poster with MC Oluomo’s photo – UNILAG

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The University of Lagos, has said it did not approve the banner which had the Caretaker Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers in Lagos State, Musiliu Akinsanya, aka MC Oluomo, as one of the invited guests for a programme on the campus.  

The university management, in a statement on Friday, September 20th dismissed the reactions trailing the invitation on the social media as mere propaganda. UNILAG had been attacked on social media on Thursday for inviting the transport union leader to the campus.  

On Twitter, in particular, many had wondered why MC Oluomo was honoured with an invitation when a former presidential candidate, Omoyele Sowore, was barred from addressing students when he was invited for a similar gathering a few weeks earlier.  

We did not approve poster with MC Oluomo?s photo - UNILAG

The UNILAG Principal Assistant Registrar, Communication Unit, Mrs Taiwo Oloyede, confirmed that the event was organised by students in the Geography Department of the school and that it held on Tuesday.

She said, “The management of the University of Lagos hereby notifies parents, guardians and other stakeholders of the university that it is aware of the event to which the Lagos State Caretaker Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Musiliu Akinsanya, was allegedly invited.  

“The event was a colloquium on ‘Transport Efficiency: Employing Lagos Terrain Alternatives.’ organised by the National Association of Geography Students (NAGS) on Tuesday, September 17, 2019.  “Relevant stakeholders in the transport sector invited to the event were: Arc. Abiodun Dabiri, MD, Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA); Engr. Ibrahim Alhassan, Chairman, Nigerian Railway Corporation; Dr. Olusegun Spencer, Director, Amalgamated Mega-City Transport; Mr. Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, MD, Lagos Waterways Authority; Dr. Adewale Sanni, Station Manager, Lufthansa and Dr. Charles Asenime, LASU School of Transport, PG Coordinator.  

“Although Alhaji Musiliu Akinsanya (MC Oluomo) was one of those to be invited, which informed the draft banner with his picture, currently trending on social media; the approved banner did not have Alhaji Akinsanya as an invited guest, neither did he attend the event.    

“For the record, events are organised on campus to expose students to current trends in the academia and industries. During such events, experts and relevant stakeholders with considerable knowledge and experience on the theme of such activities are carefully selected and invited to come and share their thoughts with our students.  The goal is to produce students that are locally relevant and globally competitive. Therefore, the general public is enjoined to disregard any propaganda making the rounds on social media about the propriety of inviting a particular guest or not.”

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Lagos Matters

Lagos State governor gives N20,000 each to 315 returnees from South Africa

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Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State on Wednesday, September 18th gave N20,000 to each of the second batch of 315 Nigerians evacuated from South Africa.  

The fresh batch of returnees arrived a week after another 187 Nigerians fleeing xenophobia came back from South Africa. The joyous returnees arrived at the Cargo Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos at about 7.21p.m aboard an Air Peace B777 aircraft with registration number 5N-BWI.  

The flight, which originated from the OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg was received by Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission and Air Peace Chairman, Allen Onyema. Also on ground was Jermaine Sanwo-Olu, Senior Special Assistant to the Lagos State Governor on Diaspora.

Presenting the token on behalf of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Jermaine Sanwo-Olu said that the money was a palliative for the returnees saying that the returnees from Lagos State would be transferred to the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), where they would be trained on skill acquisition.

Abike Dabiri-Erewa also told newsmen that the returnees would be profiled according to their states and local governments of origin to complement the federal government’s effort in reintegrating them. She said apart from giving the returnees stipends to get back to their respective states, there was also a medical team on ground to provide assistance to those with medical conditions.

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Lagos Matters

Armed robbery suspects and Cops killer arrested in Lagos

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A team of detectives led by the Divisional Police Officer Igando, CSP Taiwo Kasumu, arrested three notorious armed robbery suspects on September 14th.

A statement released by the spokesperson of the police command, Bala Elkana, says the armed robbery gang terrorizes the Igando/Egan residential neighborhood mostly at night time. They arrived the neighborhood on three motorcycles with intent to rob along Ikotun-Igando road but the attempt was foiled by the police.

Bala says one of the suspects, Oseni Waheed, 32, was arrested at the scene with one locally made pistol while the rest escaped. He led detectives to Aribisala street in Egan where three of his fleeing accomplices were arrested. 

Bala says the suspects were also on the wanted list of the State CID Yaba for series of robberies and murders including the murder of a Policeman under Amukoko Division during one of their robbery operations.

He added that investigation is ongoing and the suspects will be charged to Court. 

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