A three-year-old boy, Basit Adewole, was burnt to death in the Iwaya, Yaba area of Lagos after two women, who were cooking, mistakenly poured hot oil on his body.
Our correspondent learnt that the women, and their host, identified only as Yemisi, had been arrested by the Sabo Police Division, where the matter was reported.
PUNCH Metro learnt that on the afternoon of Saturday, the women came to Audu Baale Street, Iwaya, to see Yemisi, who was celebrating her birthday.
It was gathered that the women, who did not meet Yemisi at home, started cooking in the room. Adewole and other toddlers in the house were said to be playing in the corridor.
It was learnt that the pot, however, caught fire, and the women quickly threw out the oil and the pot. The hot oil, however, spilled on the boy, and he was set ablaze.
Relatives and neighbours were said to have rushed to the scene, and taken the boy to a hospital. He reportedly died the following day.
It was learnt that the police thereafter came to arrest Yemisi and her two friends, while a man, Lateef, who owned the apartment, was said to have gone into hiding.
When PUNCH Metro visited the apartment, Adewole’s relative, who identified himself simply as Kehinde, said the boy’s life could have been saved if the women did not close the door of their room as if nothing happened.
He added that the government hospital, where Adewole was rushed to, did not attend to him because workers were on strike, noting that the boy later died in a private hospital in the area.
He said, “The women do not stay in this house. They are friends to Yemisi, whose boyfriend, Lateef, lives here. The boyfriend, Lateef, has not showed up since the incident occurred. On that afternoon, Yemisi brought the women to celebrate her birthday with her. She gave them the key to Lateef’s apartment.
“While the two were cooking in the room, the pot caught fire and they threw it out without minding the children in the corridor. Basit was burnt in the process. The women went inside and shut their door.
“If they had rushed out with water immediately, the harm would have been minimal, and the boy might have survived. When we took the boy to a government hospital, they rejected him because they were on strike. We then brought him to a private hospital in Yaba, where he later died.”
A resident, identified only as Mama Bolu, said it was a bottle of gum in Lateef’s room ─ used for printing works ─ which caught fire. She added that the women were careless in putting out the fire.
She said, “The boy’s mother is sad at the moment. The women did not handle the fire in a matured manner, and it has landed them in trouble.
“The boy was playing with other little children in the corridor. His father just went outside briefly to put on their generator.
“The women were frying something. They mistakenly flung the substance on the boy. The boy’s body was engulfed in fire immediately.”
PUNCH Metro learnt that Adewole, who was just promoted to Nursery 1 in school, was the only child of his parents. He was buried on Sunday according to Islamic rites.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Patricia Amadin, confirmed the incident. She added that the police were still searching for the runaway boyfriend, while the two women were in custody.
She said, “The women have been arrested and detained.
“Efforts are on to apprehend the fleeing boyfriend. Meanwhile, investigations are ongoing into the matter.”