Every second counts when your family is in dire straits. And for the Ovedoye family, two deaths were too many.
Desperate for a direction, the family hired a private investigator to guide them through the investigation of the death of Ovedoye Adeleye, their 13-year-old son, who was crushed when he fell into the expressway’s dual carriageway from the toll gate at Lekki, Lagos in July, 2016.
The two other relatives — his sisters, ages 13 and six — had been using the road as their regular route to school. At the time of his death, they had been on an excursion to a nearby park.
For a year, the family waited for clues that might show how their son died. And there were many such clues: strange noises, swaying cars, objects rattling against the truck.
But the dead body was never discovered and, as in many other cases, no one was ever charged for his death.
Today, 12 months after the tragic incident, the family can finally move on.
Adeleye’s family says they were still struggling financially and were, at the time, not allowed by the authorities to visit the scene of the accident.
But yesterday, Ovedoye’s mother, Mrs. Ismaila Adeleye, told this reporter of the anguish the family had endured during the year after her son died.
The family consisted of an elderly mother and three children, aged 13, 12 and six. Ismaila Adeleye works as a pharmacist in a Lagos hospital. Her husband, Abdulhakeem, who runs a business at Lekki, had remarried since his wife’s death and her three children were living with him.
Ismaila said the family was in need of a relocation and, in search of a suitable land, came across a plot of land at Goole-Okitipupa village, Odo-Ode, Ogun State. But during the groundbreaking ceremony, villagers invited their big and promising guests to come back in two years’ time when prices of the land would be normalised.
Since that occasion, it has been a harrowing wait for the family.
Mrs. Adeleye told this reporter yesterday that the family was happy that Ovedoye’s death was finally being investigated by the Lagos State government.
“I am happy that the government is now looking into the case of my son, who died while crossing the expressway at Lekki, and I also hope that the investigations will go as far as determining his cause of death.
“The family was having difficulties during the period of my son’s death; we couldn’t go to the accident scene and the government would not allow us to do so. I thank God the government has now relented.
“We pleaded with them to do something; it was the last time we witnessed this place after my son’s death,” she said.
Mr. Adeleye, the ex-husband, who declined to comment for this story, said he was still maintaining the business he had at Lekki.
He did not have further details.
Of the two older girls, his wife added that one was still studying at a private secondary school.
Ovedoye’s death was recorded on July 23, 2016, on Lagos Island, during the traffic chaos when two of the closest expressways in the state had to be closed to traffic.
As with a third girl, one of whom, Aderounmu Suleiman, died at the scene, Ovedoye, who fell into the expressway on the Aiyetoro-Wash off-ramp, was taken to the mortuary by a private security firm.
He was buried on July 28, 2016.
All have claimed that if the girl who died at the toll gate had survived the impact, a coroner’s inquest would have been held.
Shortly after Ovedoye’s death, Lagos State government announced the suspension of commercial vehicle operation along the Lekki Expressway until August 9, 2016.