The family of a 4-year-old boy, Daniel Oyedokun, have been thrown into mourning after he drowned in a canal on his way back from church on Sunday, Nov. 26, at Awori Street, Dopemu, Agege in Lagos State.
The boy’s father, Olabode Oyedokun, said Tuesday, Nov. 28, in an interview with Punch, that his son followed their neighbour to church as he was unable to go with him to their own church.
Olabode, popularly called Baba Ibeji said he got to the house and met people standing and weeping, and when he inquired what was the problem, he was told that his son had drowned in the canal. He said he rushed there only to find out that it was true.
He said a teen related to the neighbour took his son and other children to the church.
Speaking in pidgin English, Olabode said, “The boy said he wanted to follow my neighbour to church and I allowed him. I was a little sick and I couldn’t take him to my own church.
“The sister of my neighbour led them to church and when they closed, although it was still raining, they left for home.
“Getting to the canal, my neighbour’s sister who took them, was crossing the children one after the other. So, she asked Daniel to stand at the edge of the canal, while she crossed the others but he accidentally stepped on the water and slipped into the canal.
“I got home and met a crowd. They said something had happened at the Awori Canal. I quickly rushed there and they told me that my son Daniel fell into the canal and had drowned.
“I didn’t know what to do. I was told his body was found in a gutter so I had to go to the police to retrieve his body and we buried him.”
The bereaved father blamed the church for allowing the children to leave the church premises while it was still raining heavily.
“It’s the church that I blame; they shouldn’t have allowed children to leave while it was raining heavily like that. They should have closed the gate very well until the rain stopped.
“The girl who took him to the church is about 15 or 16 years old and a sister to my neighbour. She is at my house now, crying. What will I do? My child has gone. What will I do? My child is gone,” he lamented.
Confirming the event, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, said the police started a search for the boy immediately after they received the report but unfortunately didn’t find him alive.
Hundeyin said, “The police received a report on November 26 that a four-year-old boy fell into a canal at Awori Steet, in Dopemu, the Agege area of Lagos State while returning from church during the heavy rainfall.
“With the assistance of the officers of the Lagos State Command and divers from the state fire service, we swung into action immediately.
“Unfortunately, the lifeless body of the boy was recovered inside the gutter along the same street.”
He said the father of the boy applied to retrieve his corpse after it was recovered from the gutter for immediate burial and the corpse was released to him.