Death toll rises to seven in Ibadan school bus fireHeadlines, Oyo, State News Thursday, April 5th, 2012
PARENTS were weeping yesterday in Ibadan as the death toll in Tuesday’s school bus fire rose to seven.
They besieged the University College Hospital (UCH) where 17 pupils are hospitalised.
Oyo State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) Godwin Ogagaoghene confirmed the death toll.
Ogagaoghene criticised the kind of buses being used by private schools. He said proprietors should use the FRSC – specified school bus, which is safer.
According to him, the school bus introduced by the FRSC has two exit doors which makes coming and going out easy for school children.
The FRSC boss also condemned the use of just anybody as driver. He advised school proprietors to employ qualified drivers to handle their school buses.
He also stressed the need for vehicle owner to always have fire extinguishers in their vehicles, saying if the school bus had fire extinguisher, and the driver was trained, the situation would have been prevented.
A bus conveying 21 pupils of Divine Wisdom Group of Schools caught fire, burning 13 pupils aged between five and 11. Three died in the hospital on Tuesday; two died yesterday.
Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi, who confirmed the death toll after a visit to the injured at the hospital, ordered the procurement of medical needs for the injured pupils.
Parents, guardians and well-wishers were crying at the UCH where they massed at the Accident and Emergency Unit.
While hospital officials confirmed five dead, unofficial sources said seven kids might have passed on.
Many parents of the victims, their relatives and sympathisers were at the hospital, praying for the children’ recovery.
One of the parents, Mr Oyeleke Oluseye said his children escaped the incident by the whiskers.
He said: “I was at the bus stop, which is just a few meters away from the spot of the fire when we got information that the bus had caught fire. I know the children that were involved are in God’s hand.”
The school was closed down temporarily by the proprietress, Mrs Oke Ejemuta, to mourn the deceased and allow parents gain psychological balance. She announced the closure on Wednesday.
Ajimobi ordered the immediate release of N6m to buy of all the equipment needed to treat the children.
He said the supplier of the equipment should be escorted to and from Lagos by security operatives attached to his office so as to hasten the arrival of the equipment.
Ajimobi was told by the Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee of the hospital, Dr. Biodun Otegbayo, that some of the children were in critical condition and needed urgent medical attention. He said the hospital did not have the equipment to handle the cases.
The governor, who was moved by the condition of the children, said 17 were on admission at the hospital.
Aside the purchase of the equipment, he also said the medical bill of the children would be borne by the government.
Ajimobi commiserated with the parents and guardians of the children. He said a thorough investigation would be carried out on the school to determine if there was negligence that led to the incident.
Said the governor: “We take this opportunity to warn school proprietors to care for the safety of our children; safety is very paramount; and we shall be investigating to know what has happened and where we believe that there was negligence, we will take appropriate sanction.”
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