The mother of seven-year-old Samuel Olayinka who was a primary one pupil, says her son was crushed to death by the car of a baale (traditional leader), Chief Spencer Savage.
It was gathered that Savage had driven into the secondary school premises around 3pm on October 7, and was reversing while trying to park not knowing that Olayinka was behind the car. Olayinka had been playing since 1pm while waiting for his older sister, who is in JSS 3, at a neighbouring school, to take him home.
He was said to have been rushed to a private hospital in the area where he died.
The deceased’s mother, who identified herself as Mama Mary, said her joy had been stolen but that she has taken solace in God. She said. Stating that Olayinka was her only son.
“I was surprised when I learnt he was playing, because he was a reserved child. Most times, I forced him to play at home; he was very calm. His sister normally goes to pick him when she closes from school at 3pm.
There are supposed to be security guards at the school that regulate the vehicles entering the compound. He was attending a private school before I withdrew him from there when I could no longer afford the fees.
It was very painful but I have left everything to God. It is a tragedy that I can never forget. I did not know how I got admitted in a hospital when I was told he had died. The baale (Savage) visited me once while I was in the hospital and he paid my hospital bill.”
Savage, on the other had spoke to Punch on the phone, said he had come to the school on the fateful day to discuss his child’s poor performance with the principal. He said he made efforts to save Olayinka’s life to no avail.
“I did not drive recklessly. I did not know he (Olayinka) was behind the car, trying to pick something and I didn’t see him in my rear-view mirror. I rushed him to Ayodele Medical Centre and the doctor tried his best. The doctor said he had an internal hemorrhage.
I took him to the mortuary and I was subsequently detained at a police station for two days. It was not intentional. I also have children. I wanted to see the principal to discuss my child’s poor performance.”
One of Olayinka’s teachers, who wanted to remain unidentified blamed the accident on the inadequate security in the school.
He said:“The baale was not aware that the boy was at the back of his car. I still believe the accident could have been averted if he (baale) was more careful. The back tyre crushed the boy’s head and he died afterwards. The incident was reported at the Iju Police Station.
Besides, his mother should not have allowed a little child like that to wait that long for his sister. Our school closes at 1pm; the mother should have come to pick him herself. The security here is lax. We have only two security guards manning the seven schools. The guards resume by 8am and close at 2pm.
The school compound has become vulnerable to hoodlums since its fence collapsed. Our pupils are no longer safe from intruders and abductors. These are imminent dangers which need the government’s attention urgently. The seven schools have a population of over 5,000.”