Tragedy struck in Alaja community, Megida, in the Ayobo area of Lagos State, after a 40-year-old petty trader, Ablavi Hunkpati, fell into an abandoned well and died.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the mother of four was running from a scorpion when she slipped and fell into the well said to be about 100 feet deep.
Our correspondent learnt that after failed attempts by residents, relatives and sympathisers to rescue her, officials of the Lagos State Fire Service were called to the scene.
Her remains were subsequently recovered and handed over to the police by officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency.
The Togolese woman, her husband and their four children were said to have lived in the house for over 20 years.
A resident, who did not identify himself, said the incident happened on Saturday around 2pm.
He said, “The woman has been living in the house for over than 20 years. As of the time she packed in, that well had been abandoned. Usually, people sit and relax on the planks used to cover the well. She was trying to run from a scorpion. She rested on the planks, which gave way. That was how she fell into the well and died.”
When our correspondent visited the house on Monday, he observed that the abandoned well was at the entrance into the victim’s room and parlour apartment.
The house had also been cordoned off by security operatives.
A relative of Hunkpati, who identified himself only as David, showed our correspondent a bottle of soft drink he bought for her before the incident.
He said, “She kept the drink on a drum and wanted to rid the planks on the well of insects because children usually play around there. She had finished cleaning the place when she fell.”
David explained that the victim had sighted a scorpion, and panicked when she fell into the well.
“She screamed and we rushed to see how to help her, but it was too late. She had died before anyone could do anything because the well is over 100 feet deep. We called the fire service, but when they came, it was too late,” he added.
It was learnt that the victim’s husband and children had gone to Togo to break the news to other family members.
The Public Affairs Officer of the Lagos State Fire Service, Mrs Bola Ajao, who spoke for the acting Director, Rasak Musibau, said firefighters arrived as soon they received a distress call about the incident.
She said, “We received the distress call around 2.59pm and the Abesan Fire Station, being the closest to the area, responded. The officials arrived at the scene around 3.06pm. By the time they got there, it was discovered that some of the victim’s relatives had lowered themselves into the well with ropes. They, however, could not bring her out. The fire service men recovered the woman’s corpse.
“We have been telling residents that no matter how little an emergency may appear, they should always get in touch with emergency workers. The person who tried to bring the deceased’s woman out was not trained in safety techniques and it is possible that it was in the process of dragging her with ropes that the situation aggravated.”
Our correspondent learnt that LASEMA workers handed over the remains of the deceased to the police from the Ayobo division.
“The body was put in a body bag and handed over to the police. But before we left the scene, we were told that the victim’s family members had shown up to collect it,” an official said.
A representative of the deceased’s family, who identified himself only as Volvo, said the family had accepted its fate.
He said Hunkpati would be buried in Lagos on Friday. (Punch)