Punch- Vivian is the wife of Pastor Charles Ezechila of the Redeemed Christian Church of God who lost his life alongside his two children and two others on their way home from the church’s monthly Holy Ghost vigil last week.
Can you briefly introduce yourself?
I am 49 years old and hail from Abia State as well as my late husband. I am a trader in Lagos.
My pastor called me on Saturday, July 8, around 7am. He said, “Where are you, Sister Vivian?” I told him I was at home. He then asked me who among my children accompanied my husband to the Redemption Camp. I told him two of my children— Peculiar, 12, and Chibuike, 14. I asked him if all was well. He said yes. After the call, I was disturbed because anytime my husband went to the camp; he usually came back home around 5 or 6am. I had been calling his number but it was not going through.
I called my daughter that I was not comfortable with the questions our pastor asked me on the telephone. I asked her to call our church member in Ojota to know if my husband and two children were in Ojota. The fellow told us there was an accident at Ojota. We then asked who was involved. He said my husband, my two sons with some other church members — one old woman and our neighbour’s child, Daniel.
On hearing this, my daughter started crying. I tried to console her. We had just woken up from sleep. A family friend went to Ojota Bus Stop and saw the wreckage. We were told that a truck conveying a container fell on their bus. The fellow was there when they brought the crane to lift the container off the damaged bus my husband, our two children and others were travelling in.
Going to the camp is usually stressful so I prefer to stay at home. I don’t go there because I don’t have the strength.
What was your last discussion with him?
I called my husband around 11 or 12pm on Friday. He was at the camp. I told him that because of the Badoo killings in Ikorodu, he should not come home very early as he usually did. I asked him to stay around till 5 or 6am before leaving the camp. He asked me if there was any riot in any place. I said no. He said I should forget about the cult matter and not entertain any fear. He assured me that since he was coming from a church of God, there was nothing to worry about. I was told he left the camp around 3am. That was the last discussion I had with him.
Has the owner of the truck reached out to you?
The driver of the truck ran away but they apprehended his motor boy. They conveyed the container to a police station with the truck. The motor boy is still in police custody. My brother-in-law asked the policemen to provide the number plate of the truck and trace the owner since they refused to reach out to us. The police initially refused giving it out. They later gave him the information.
How many children do you have?
Four. Two died while two are still alive. The surviving ones are Victoria and Emmanuel, who is in the university.
Tell us about your husband?
My husband was a testimony and blessing to many people. If I should talk about him, you may not believe what he had done. He was a peaceful man. In the church and town meetings, he was very popular because of his good deeds. He was 52. Since this happened to me, I have not been able to sleep. I miss him a lot.
Have the authorities of the RCCG reached out to you?
Yes, they have. They came in large numbers, telling me not to be weary. They said he had finished his race. I asked them, “What about my two young children who died? Have they finished their race too just like that?”
What do you think was responsible for the tragedy?
To me, the attitude towards my husband’s death, most especially that of the police and the owner of the container, is too bad. Even if you kill somebody’s goat, you have to look for the owner of the goat. They have wasted the life of my husband and two sons and left me in tears, pain and sorrow. How much will I collect from them to compensate for my loss? Nothing can compensate for my loss. How can you be in possession of somebody’s corpses from 8am till 9pm? It is sheer wickedness. I am sure they were planning to go and dump their corpses somewhere and say they were criminals.
The government should do something about trucks and containers. They have wasted many lives. How can a truck carry a container without clipping or chaining it? If the containers were tightly held to the truck, They won’t fall off. The government should repair a failed portion of the Ojota road. When you are coming from Mowe/Ibafo and you go through Ojota, there is a sharp bend linking the express just by the pedestrian bridge. Many lives have been wasted on that spot. When they constructed the BRT lane, it affected the road which is now too narrow. One container fell off a truck same spot two days before my husband’s death and killed a man and three children. If they don’t address that, another disaster may happen there.
My son could have survived if help came in time — Daniel’s father
Tell us about yourself.
I am Yemi Olagoke, the father of 10-year-old Daniel who died in the container disaster at Ojota.
Where were you when the accident happened?
I was not in Lagos. I travelled to Ondo State on Thursday. When I got home on Friday, I asked my wife where Daniel was. She told me he went to the camp with our neighbour, Pastor Ezechila. Daniel was a friend of the pastor’s son. I said no problem because it was not the first time he would be going with them to the camp to pray.
Are you also a member of RCCG?
No, I attend Daystar Christian Centre but occasionally I attend RCCG special programmes.
How did you receive the news of your son’s death?
I had an appointment at Constain area of Lagos on Saturday, July 8 in the morning. I got a call from my wife asking me if I heard about an accident that happened that morning. She told me our neighbour who took Daniel to church had an accident along the way. I called her back to ascertain the nature of the accident. She said a truck fell on their bus. I concluded immediately that they were dead. She asked me not to repeat that again that they were not dead. I was so confused. I didn’t even know how I got home. At home, I met my wife praying for them not to die.
When last did you speak with Daniel?
The last discussion I had with him was on Wednesday when I went to cut my hair. I told him he would go to my brother’s place in Lekki to spend his holiday. He was happy. My wife was going to attend a programme too. He was my only son. I have two girls.
What can you say about your child?
I miss him so much. I love him. The news is shocking. He just finished his examinations, going to Jss2. It is so unfortunate. During the administration of former governor Babatunde Fashola, I remember they banned trucks from plying some routes and they gave them time to operate. I see no reason why that law should not be enforced. My son would have survived if there was an efficient emergency response. The injuries were minor. I think they bled to death.