FIFTY-year-old Silifat Lawal, her husband, Ismail, her two children and her grandchild were forced to go to bed early penultimate Friday night by a torrential rain that fell in Abeokuta, Ogun State, oblivious of the dangers lurking in the dark.
Lawal, her two children, 15-year-old Rasheedat; Semia, four and her grandchild, Moriamo had that night retired to bed in their Oke-Ola Street, Iberekodo residence, with the hope of having a blissful rest and waking up refreshed the next day.
But at about 9pm, tragedy struck and things took a dangerous turn. Their hope of waking up to a new dawn the next day was shattered! The four members of the same family were crushed to death in their sleep by a hanging boulder of rock, which suddenly detached from the precipice and fell on their house.
It was learnt that the boulder of rock had in the past eight years been hanging precariously on the precipice just a few metres away from the residence of the Lawals before the tragic incident. Help and rescue efforts could not get to the family early enough as the noise made by the impact of the falling rock was drowned by the sound of the torrential rain.
Neighbours were not aware of the tragic development until after the rain. It was the cry for help by the head of the family that woke them up from their sleep.
Ismail Lawal and his only surviving daughter, Rafia, however, miraculously escaped.
The disturbed residents rushed to the scene and made attempts to rescue the victims. By then, the woman, her two children and grandchild had been crushed. One of the neighbours, Mrs. Khadijat Adegoke, said other residents got to know about the incident when the husband to the deceased rushed out and shouted for help:
“The incident happened around 9pm. The rain was very heavy since 5pm. When the rock shifted and crushed them, we didn’t hear because of the sound of the rain.
“The father came out shouting. We rushed there only to find out that all the four of them had been crushed to death. The father was sleeping in the sitting room. That was why he escaped with another daughter.”
The deceased were buried at the back of the family’s residence.
A builder who pleaded anonymity warned that people in Abeokuta should desist from building their houses close to hanging rocks. He said doing so posed a great danger to life and property:
“What happened is terrible. People shouldn’t die like that. That house stands too close to the cluster of rocks overhanging the neighbourhood. People should take safety issues seriously.
“Many believe that rocks don’t shift. That cannot be correct as this unfortunate incident has shown. Those whose houses are next should be careful. These rocks will shift again, it’s a matter of time and weather conditions.”
Source: Daily Sun