Musta and Hafisat Isiaka, the parents of three out of eight children found dead on Saturday in a Lexus Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) in Lagos, have reacted.
The vehicle was parked in front of the owner’s house on Adelayo Street, Agunaje, along Badagry Expressway.
Hafisat said she lost two boys and a girl to the sad incident that occurred.
She also said one of the children would have been saved if her neighbours had come out when she shouted for help.
In his narration of the tragedy, Musta said one of the boys would not have been dead if he had not been taken to the compound where he met his death.
He disclosed that the area where the car was parked was bushy and abandoned, adding that it was rare for children to go and play in the vicinity.
The couple revealed these in a video clip during their interview with BBC News Pidgin which was monitored by SaharaReporters on Tuesday.
Lagos Police spokesman, Adekunle Ajisebutu, had confirmed the incident.
“The eight children were said to have mistakenly locked themselves in an abandoned car while playing. Their bodies have been recovered and deposited at the Badagry General Hospital morgue for autopsy to determine the actual cause of death,” he had said.
According to reports, the vehicle is owned by one Saliat Kazeem. The vehicle reportedly has a child-lock feature and could only be opened from outside. The children, who were between the ages of four and six, were found dead by a parent who was looking for her child.
In her reaction, Hafisat said, “My neighbour went out to look for them (the children). My child asked me to come outside. The neighbour asked me if my children are in the car and I asked which car? She led me outside and when I peeped inside the car, all of them have died. Only one was breathing.
“Alhaja does not kill children now. I came outside and I shouted. I was shouting for help, but none came. One boy quickly went to bring a key and opened the car, and the boy was still breathing. I was calling them and nobody answered.
“Something like foam was coming out from his mouth and nose. They (the government) should help us. They were seven children. Four boys and three girls. If it were only one now, it would be better. But seven! And only I had two boys and one girl amongst the dead children. I can’t sleep at night. I can’t eat and can’t sleep.”
In his account, Musta Isiaka said it was God that gave him the children and had taken them away from him.
“Around 1:30 when I left the compound, the children have not come when I returned from an Islamic school. When I went there, I saw him. I observed my prayers by 2 and 4 around the place. When it was past four, my wife came with our child to come and break the sad news of what happened.
“It was that time, he came back around two to come and eat and went back. The mother thought he was sleeping after eating his meal, not knowing he had left. My boy didn’t like to go and play in that compound. It was a bushy area. If not that someone took him to the place, he wouldn’t have been dead. The girl was 12, the first boy was 5, and the second boy was 3. What would I do? God gave them to me, and God has taken them back,” Musta said.
On Sunday, Ajisebutu said the police commissioner, Hakeem Odumosu, had ordered a thorough and speedy investigation into the circumstances surrounding the children’s death.
He said, “The Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, has ordered a thorough and speedy investigation into the circumstances surrounding their death. The CP also commiserates with the families of the victims.”