‘Nobody knows how they got locked in’, Father of Lagos Children who died in a locked SUV

Ibrahim Jubril, one of the parents whose children were found dead in an abandoned SUV car in Lagos, says nobody knows how they got into the vehicle.


Eight children were found dead in a Honda Pilot jeep with registration number AAA157BD parked inside a fenced house on Adelayo street, Jah-Michael, along Badagry expressway in Lagos, on Saturday.


The children were said to be between the ages of four and six.


On Sunday, Hakeem Odumosu, commissioner of police in Lagos, ordered a “thorough and speedy” investigation into the circumstances surrounding their death.


Speaking with NAN, Jubril, who lost four children — two boys and two girls — said nobody knows how the children got locked inside the car.


The bereaved said he was inside a mosque when he was called to come and see what had happened to the children.

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“I was inside this central mosque when people came to call me to come and see what happened to my children,” he said.

“Before I got to the scene, they had brought them out of the car. Nobody knows how they got inside the motor and locked themselves inside.


“As a Muslim, everything that happens in life comes from Allah, we believe that it is Allah that gives and take back at any time in life. My wife has also submitted to the will of Allah.

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“We have buried our children according to Muslim rites and we are here at the mosque praying to Allah to forgive them their sins.”


Also, Isiaka Abdul-Wahab, who lost three children in the incident, said he has submitted to the will of Allah.


“My two boys, Abdul-Wahab and Yakubu, then a girl, Zainab, just returned from Quranic school. After eating, they started playing with their friends,” he said.


“I went to the mosque to pray for about an hour and from there I went to Quranic school to see a friend.


“Suddenly, my wife sent for me. When I got there, I saw the lifeless bodies of my children.


“We have submitted to the will of Allah because he is the one who gives and takes.”


Saliat Kazeem, the owner of the building where the incident happened was asleep when the children, including her granddaughter entered and got trapped inside the vehicle and died of suffocation.


Relatives of family of the victims went  to the scene, they opened the gate to inspect the compound and held meetings, insinuating that there was more than met the eyes.

In the compound, shattered windscreen from the vehicle littered the scene.


Glasses from the window of building which was destroyed by irate residents were also scattered on the ground.

'Nobody knows how they got locked in', Father of Lagos Children who died in a locked SUV
‘Nobody knows how they got locked in’, Father of Lagos Children who died in a locked SUV

The eight children involved are from four different families.


A family has three children, another family has two, another has two while Saliat Kazeem has one (granddaughter). The names of the children were given a Zainab, Tayab, Farida, Mamod, Yakubu, Wahab, Aisha and Saliat Kazeem’s granddaughter.

According to Azeez, it was actually when the owner of the building, Saliat Kazeem woke up that she discovered the children, including her granddaughter whom she wanted to feed were inside the vehicle.


“When I heard of the incident, I rushed there like other residents, we found that some of the children were still alive, they were still breathing, we were telling them to rush them to the hospital, but they were wasting time, they didn’t do anything till it was late. By the time they eventually stated going to the hospital, the grand child of Saliat Kazeem died on the way.


“Yesterday (Saturday) was like war as young men in the community wanted to set the house ablaze. Relatives of the affected families attacked people who were passing bye.”


According to a community leader, who spoke to Vanguard on the condition of anonymity, said, “The aggrieved youths almost lynched Saliat Kazeem, the owner of the vehicle and building but for the police, who intervened and sealed the building.”


Yet to understand what was happening, a little boy who identified himself as AbdulKareem, said his two siblings, Aisha and Farida were among the children who died inside the vehicle.


He said: “My two siblings were among the children who suffocated in the vehicle. Foamy substances were coming out of their mouths.”


Lamenting, another resident, Adetayo Ojo, said: “The gate is hardly open, anytime we pass through this street, the gate is always locked. So, I wonder what happened that it was opened and eight children went there to play.”

Confirming the incident, the spokesperson Lagos state police command, Adekunle Ajisebutu, said: “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’s morgue for autopsy, so as to determine the actual cause of death.


Notwithstanding the report made to the Police, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. 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.”


Meanwhile, a consultant family physician at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, Dr Oluwajimi Sodipo, told Punch that it might take between six and eight hours for the children to die from asphyxiation or excessive heat.


He noted that an autopsy, including a toxicology test, should be conducted on the victims to ascertain the cause of death.


Sodipo said, “There are many determinants to the loss of oxygen in the vehicle. The number of children in the vehicle; because apart from the oxygen that will come in, the longer they stay inside the vehicle, they will also be providing carbon dioxide, which will be building up over time. So, the more people they are, the more that will build up, and of course, it could cause that.


“Another factor is that it is also dependent on what time the incident happened. One assumption is that they might have died from asphyxiation; another possibility is that if there is a lot of heat as the weather is hot right now and we don’t know what time the incident occurred, if they were trapped in the vehicle for a long time, there is a possibility of complications from excessive heat.

“Like heatstroke, dehydration, and all that can occur. But on a rough estimate, I will assume that at least it will take more than six to eight hours for all of them to have died within the vehicle, but that is also dependent on a number of factors.”


Sodipo, while urging parents and guardians to monitor their children closely, advised that the child protection services in the country should be strengthened.

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