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Sunday, 15 November 2015

My testimony is nine minus four





Man who lost four children in collapsed building

BY OLAKUNLE OLAFIOYE AND SIJIBOMI OYEDEPO-FATAYO

Sympathizers have contin­ued to throng the family home of Mr. Ekeoseye Odia, the man who lost four of his children penultimate Saturday when mudslide hit a portion of the family’s three bedroom apartment located on Ottun Araromi at Orisha area of Isheri-Magodo, Lagos, killing the children in their room.

The rear wall of the children’s room was pulled down when a staircase of one of the buildings constructed on the setback of the Magodo Phase 1 Estate broke away in the early morning rain, rolled down the sloppy setback and crashed on the wall of the room where the four boys were sleeping.

Although Mr. Odia, his two wives and three other children who were in the building at the time es­caped the tragedy, one of his wives reportedly fainted and was rushed to an undisclosed hospital. She was yet to be discharged from the hospital as of Tuesday, November 10 when our correspondent visited the community.

When Sunday Sun visited, sympathizers were seen troop­ing into the Odia’s compound to condole with the family over the incident.

Although the bereaved father insisted he was not going to speak to the press on the incident any longer, our correspondent who was among the sympathizers reports that the 50 year-old police officer was battling hard to get the tragic incident behind him. “I am trying hard to get my mind over the incident but the sad memory won’t just go away,” Mr. Odia said during a conversation.

“Earlier today, I refused to have my Blood Pressure (BP) checked. Of what essence is the continued existence of a man who lost four children in a day?

“In fact, that (pointing to the room where the children died) should have been my grave. Look (pointing to the heap of mud under which the children were trapped) that is what they removed on top of my children’s corpses. And somebody is talking about my BP going up. Let it go up, let me die,” he said in an emotional laden voice.

Reacting to a sermonic remark by another sympathizer who attempted to encourage him to give thanks to God in spite of the incident, the police officer replied, “ I thank God; it is well even though I lost four children-all boys in a single day. Even though my testimony is nine minus four; it is well.”

In another instance, the be­reaved father, while reacting to a prayer from a female sympa­thizer, said he was through with child-bearing. “I do not wish to have children anymore. I am through with that,” he said. The woman had prayed that God, in the case of Job, would give him more children.

Sayo’s unfulfilled dreams

Sunday Sun reliably gathered that although the Odia family is blessed with a good number of gifted children, 24 year old Sayo was said to be the most brilliant of all. Mrs. Felicia Odia, one of the police officer’s wives who survived the incident with a leg injury, told Sunday Sun penul­timate Saturday that his step son was anxiously waiting to secure admission into university when he died. “He was preparing for his university education when this happened,” she said amid sobbing.

A woman who claimed to be Mr. Odia’s sister also told Sun­day Sun that the late Sayo had scheduled to pay her a visit with the intention of convincing her to attend a church programme the day he died. “Sayo called me last night and invited me to a church programme. He promised to visit me when his father left for work today and I told him that I would be expecting him. But Instead of that happening, it was his corpse that was brought out today. I did not know that was going to be our last conversation,” the woman said.

Mr. Odia’s inconsol­able wife

As of Tuesday, when Sunday Sun visited the family home of the Odias, the police officer’s wife who was rushed to a hospital after she passed out when the incident happened, was yet to be discharged at the time. The woman who was said to have lost three of her own children in the disaster, Sunday Sun gathered, had equal­ly lost two children in the past. One of the deceased children, it was reportedly gathered, belonged to the police officer’s third wife who no longer lives with him.

Why we didn’t con­dole with the bereaved family –Estate residents

Contrary to the claim that the occupants of the building, whose staircase crashed into the Odia’s compound and caused the havoc, did not visit the bereaved family to condole with them over the death of their children, Sunday Sun learnt that the occupants actually visited the scene but decided to hide their identities to avoid possi­ble attack from the community. “It is not true that we did not visit the place when we received the report about the unfortunate incident. We went there and commiserated with the family. The only thing is that we did not reveal our identities to the community because we didn’t know what would have happened. Both communities have not been in good terms over an issue which borders on the safety of residents of the two communities which un­fortunately was largely responsible for this tragic incident,” Alhaji Olaiya Oladeji, a community leader in Magodo Phase 1 Estate.

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