Residents of Uselu community in Egor Local Government Area of Edo State yesterday protested the death of a sixyear- old boy in flood. The kindergarten pupil of a nursery school in the community was swept away by flood in an open gutter close to the Five Junction on the Benin-Ugbowo- Lagos Expressway following a downpour, which lasted for about three hours.
The protest by youths and elders of the community came after a search team failed to rescue the boy identified as Segun, who slipped off the hold of his mother, Mrs. Latifat, as two of them fell into the over six feet gutter. Segun’s mother had gone to bring him home from school about 3p.m. on Monday when the ugly incident occurred.
They were going home when they slipped into the open drainage filled with flood at the Omosogie Junction.
The protesters blocked the busy Uselu-Ugbowo-Lagos Expressway with several bonfires in total deviance of antiriot policemen deployed from Evuotubu, Egor, Oghoro and New Benin divisional stations. Motorists coming from Lagos and other locations were forced to make a detour to other routes to Ugbowo, the Kings Square and other parts of Benin, the state capital. They also pulled down many signboards of the Edo State government in the area.
The protesters said they were enraged by the inability of the government to send its officials to help find Segun’s body. The spokesperson for the protesters, Mr. Oni Enoma, said the drainage was a death-trap and a nightmare, especially during the rains. Enoma said they would leave the streets if the state government took urgent action to cover to drainage.
He said: “A woman and her baby fell into a death-trap they call gutter. It was a Hausa man who dragged the woman out but the baby fell inside. We have not been able to find the body of the boy. “We were surprised that nothing has been done by the fire fighters and the state government to find the body. We want the Commissioner for Works to come and cover the drainage or we will not stop this protest. We want them to cover that death-trap.” Also, Mr. Augustine Idahosa said the incident occurred about 2p.m. on Monday.
He said: “This is part of the N30 billion water project. We blocked the road to make the government come and recover the body.” A witness, who gave his name as Kehinde, who is the twin brother to Segun’s father, said it was a Hausa boy scavenging for scraps who saved the woman but her son fell in.
He said: “I quickly jumped inside the gutter but the boy was already gone. We have searched everywhere but we did not see the body. The boy is scheduled for graduation ceremony to primary one next week.” Meanwhile, policemen drafted from various divisions were on ground to avert any break down of law and order.