What was meant to be a minor job at a hotel on Ashanti Close, Apapa area of Lagos State, went awry as two labourers drowned in the facility’s well.
The victims, Yau Umaru and Ismaila Salisu, went to the hotel on February 13, 2020 to put finishing touches to the well which they started digging some days earlier.
City Round learnt that while Salisu was working on the well, his legs slipped and he fell into the pool of water. Umaru was said to have gone inside the well to rescue him only to be drowned too.
A resident of the area, John Chukwudi, told our correspondent that policemen from the Apapa division, who responded to a distress call, joined the hotel workers to bring out the victims.
“Unfortunately, they were brought out dead. It was painful. It took over 30 minutes after they got drowned before the policemen and hotel workers were able to bring them out. They could have been rescued alive if help came their way on time,” Chukwudi stated.
He added, “I learnt they started digging the well about a week before the incident happened. They were supposed to round off work on it the day the tragedy struck. One of them slipped into the well and drowned. His partner, while trying to help, also drowned.”
A reliable source told our correspondent that several calls were put across to the 767 but were not picked up.
He said the hotel workers had to devise means to bring out the men when help did not come from emergency workers.
The source stated, “Maybe this tragedy could have been avoided if the emergency line was picked. Officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency or the state Fire Service might have helped in rescuing the men alive since they are trained. Everyone was afraid to go inside the well after the second labourer drowned.
“After waiting for a long time without getting response from the emergency unit they called, some workers volunteered to go inside the well using ladders. With the support of policemen, they brought out the two bodies.”
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Bala Elkana, who confirmed the incident, stated that the corpses had been released to the families and buried according to Islamic rite.
He said, “The police received information that the labourers went to the hotel to complete work on a well they dug. In the process, both of them drowned in the well. Detectives from the Apapa Police Division visited the scene and the two corpses were seen inside the well.
“The emergency phone number 767 was said to have been contacted to no avail. It took the combined effort of the police and some staff members of the hotel to remove the victims. They were taken to the General Hospital, Apapa, where they were confirmed dead. It is a case of sudden and unnatural death and they have been buried by their families.”