Anthony Eze, the father of Chidera Eze, a five-year-old pupil of the Redeemers Nursery and Primary School, Ogba, Lagos State, who drowned during a swimming lesson organised by the school in Ikeja, has accused the school staff of neglect.
Some teachers and caregivers of the school took Chidera and his colleagues for the swimming lesson at the Ivory Health Club, Ogundana Street, Ikeja, during which he drowned.
Chidera and his colleagues were said to be playing at the tip of the pool when he slipped into it on Monday.
Anthony, while speaking to Punch on Wednesday, said the teachers, caregivers and lifeguards were not aware that his son had fallen into the pool until he drowned.
“I dropped my children at the Redeemers Nursery and Primary School on Acme Road, Ogba, on Monday morning, and I went to work. At 10.52am, I got a call from their head teacher, Mrs Adeola Oladipo, and she told me that my son was involved in an accident and that he had been rushed to the Ikeja Medical Centre,” he told Punch.
“I rushed down there, but what I saw was the lifeless body of my son. I asked the head teacher what happened and she said she did not know. I asked the doctor what happened and he said he was brought in dead. I asked the teachers, caregivers and workers at the club what happened and they gave no explanation.
“As I was crying, my wife came in; I was trying to manage the information, but the head teacher also informed her and as she ran into the hospital, I became totally confused. I went to the Area F Police Station and after the policemen took pictures of my son’s corpse, we went to the club.
“When we got there, we discovered that it was the adult swimming pool section that they took the pupils to. I was alarmed and while the policemen were investigating, we realised that CCTV was installed at the club. So, we demanded to check the CCTV footage and it revealed everything.”
According to Anthony, the footage revealed that his son was in the pool for over 30 minutes before he died, adding that his son’s corpse was discovered by another person, who came to swim in the pool.
He told Punch, “In the footage, we saw that the school brought more than 15 children, took them to the adult side of the swimming pool and made them sit at the tip with their legs in the water and without wearing any kits. We saw only one caregiver in the video and she was just going in and coming out, leaving the children unmanned.
“My son was at the tail end of the line when he slipped into the pool the first time but he was able to bring himself out of the pool. But the second time he slipped into the water, he could not come out. All these happened and none of the teachers, caregivers, and lifeguards took notice of what was happening.
“My son was under the water for over 30 minutes and we were all shouting as we watched the video. Another pupil also fell into the water, but her colleagues raised the alarm and they pulled her out and while this was going on, nobody noticed my son was inside the water.
“My son died because of the recklessness of these people who were supposed to take care of him. I want justice to forestall this kind of thing happening again. The caregivers, lifeguards, school management and the Ivory Health Club can’t go unpunished. My son’s corpse has been deposited in the morgue.”
The spokesperson for the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Olaitan Olubiyi, did not take his calls and had yet to respond to a text message sent to his mobile number as of press time, according to Punch.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, said some members of staff of the school and the club had been arrested.
“A thorough investigation into the circumstances that led to the drowning of the boy is ongoing,” he added
Meanwhile, the school has been shut since the incident happened on Monday, as confirmed by a security guard who said the there hasn’t been any activity in the school since Monday when the tragedy struck.