7 of the pupils that were badly injured in a school bus fire accident that occurred on Wednesday in Oyo state, have passed away.
The Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee of the University College Hospital, UCH, where the pupils are been treated, Dr. Biodun Otegbayo, says the other children are in a critical condition, while the school (Divine Wisdom Group of Schools), has been closed down temporarily by the proprietress, Mrs Oke Ejemuta, to mourn the deceased and allow parents gain psychological balance.
The Oyo State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) Godwin Ogagaoghene, who confirmed the death toll, criticised the kind of buses being used by private schools.
According to him, school buses should have two exit doors which makes entry and exit easy for school children. He added that vehicle owners should always have fire extinguishers in their vehicles, because if the school bus had one, the situation would have been prevented.
The Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi, who also confirmed the death toll after a visit to the hospital, ordered the immediate release of N6m to buy of all the equipment needed to treat the children
Our previous report
15 pupils between the ages of 5 and 11, of Divine Wisdom Group of Schools, Lagelu Local Government Area, Oyo State were badly injured on Wednesday when a school bus conveying them to school suddenly caught fire.
The bus driver, Mr. Serif Oyedele, who had his hand and leg burnt, stated that the mishap occurred when the engine of the bus (Ford) suddenly stopped working after picking up the pupils from the bus stop. “As a mechanic, I checked the engine to rectify the problem… After I checked and discovered that the bus had battery problem, I told some of the older ones among the children to assist me in pushing it but while pushing they told me that fuel was dripping from underneath the vehicle. As I tried to open the engine, fire just started. That was how the whole bus got burnt.”
Those pushing it escaped unhurt, while the others were trapped in the bus. “It was when I was trying to rescue the children that I also got burnt in the hand and leg but I was able to rescue six of them, including my five-year-old child who sat beside me in front of the bus.” he said.
All the pupils were later carried in a commercial cab and motorcycles to the Accident and Emergency Unit of the University College Hospital, (UCH), Ibadan for proper medical attention.
The Proprietress of the school, Mrs. Oke Ejemuta, who was said to have ordered the closure of the school, said “…We thank God…that they are all responding to treatment. It is the arrow of the devil. You can confirm from the parents, we bought the school bus (a J5 bus) last year, so it is a new vehicle. We hired the service of a driver-mechanic so that he can deploy his experience anytime there is need for it. We want to implore the parents to be calm.”