‘We couldn’t save her because the flood was massive’ — man who witnessed Adewura Bello’s last moment speaks
When Adewura Lateefat Bello left her place of work in Ikeja, Lagos, on May 15, she never knew that she would neither get home safely nor return there the next day but fate dealt a crushing blow on her, leaving her siblings and those who knew the young, beautiful, smart and reserved lady with memories.
It was a rainy day and the rain came with flood. The 26-year-old chartered accountant was rushing home to break the Ramadan fast with her family but just less than five minutes to her destination, she went into the journey of no return and the rest, as they say, is history.
HER LAST CONVERSATION
Around 7pm on that day, she told her sister, Fadesola, on phone, that she was around Cement bus stop, a distance of two kilometers from Gowon estate, Egbeda where her family lived. When she didn’t show up on time, Fadesola called her again; the phone rang but she did not pick. Fadesola might have assumed that it was because of the rain but when the day slipped into midnight, it dawned on the family that something was amiss but they probably didn’t know the depth of the situation. The search commenced immediately. After several hours of fruitless search, family and friends took to the social media to declare her missing, appealing to those who had information on her whereabouts to reach out but that also did not help in bringing her back.
Her corpse was said to have been found at a canal in Abule Odu in Alimosho local government area of Lagos. She was reportedly recognised thorugh the shirt she wore last and a birthmark as her face had been badly damaged.
On Sunday, Benjamin, Bello’s cousin, took to Twitter to announce that her body had been found in a canal.
“Thank you all for the search. Adewura is Dead. Her Body found in a canal. Heaven has gained an angel. We depart to meet again till we Meet again Adewura. Forever in our Heart. God, I am in pains but who am I the question you. Rip,” he tweeted.
‘WE WARNED THE MOTORCYCLE RIDER’
The manhole where Bello was believed to have slipped into. This metal fence wasn’t there when she fell
When TheCable visited the scene of the incident opposite Shagari estate, Ipaja, on Monday, the manhole was still open but had been guided with an iron fence. Residents had rallied round to prevent a recurrence of tragedy in the area.
According to witnesses, the victim had boarded a motorcycle behind the estate to take her home. As usual, the rain had wrecked havoc and flooded the street few meters away from a popular fast food restaurant. The motorcycle rider was warned not to pass through a flooded area, but he ignored the warning.
Bello was cut down in her prime
While meandering his way through the flowing water, the motorcycle tripped and fell. He was able to save himself and the motorcycle but Bello, however, was unlucky. The flood swept her away into the manhole that leads to a bigger canal.
“We warned the rider not to pass through the flood but he didn’t listen to us,” a mechanic, who didn’t want his identity disclosed, told TheCable.
“He rode near the manhole saying he could make his way through the flood to the other side. But he fell and he struggled for himself and the motorcycles. The lady was washed inside the hole. We couldn’t save her because the flood was massive.
“The driver was taken to Mosalasi police station and detained but he was later released.
“Anytime it rains, this whole place is usually covered up with high volume of water and it extends to the third street after Havana hotel. All the water from Shagari Estate, Mosan and other places around were diverted here. That’s why the whole street is bad. We always warn people not to pass there any time there’s flood.”
When asked why the manhole wasn’t covered, he said: “We had to open it anytime it rains so that the flood can pass through to the canal. If not, this place will become an ocean and destroy our properties. When we cover it, scavengers will remove it at night to sell to scrap dealers. So, it’s always open.”
An elderly man, who simply identified himself as Baba Segun, said the incident was unfortunate and avoidable. “Even as the manhole looks small, the canal is very big. Once my dog fell inside, I went inside and realised I was walking as though in subway. I think the canal terminates at a central sewage in Gemade estate.”
He added that after the flood subsided the next day, residents engaged two men to go inside the canal in search of Bello but they couldn’t get her.
“After the incident, we had to contribute money around here to put a metal fence around the manhole since we never can tell who the next victim could be, as we are in the raining season. Since we work here, we contribute money every year to buy truckloads of sand to fill the street to make it accessible for vehicles,” he said.
No policeman at Mosalasi police station was willing to speak. They insisted that only Bala Elkana, spokesman of the Lagos state police command, could comment on the issue. TheCable had demanded update on the the motorcycle rider who was arrested in connection with the incident. Elkana did not answer calls and is yet to reply text messages sent to him since Monday evening.
A SMART AND DEVOUT MUSLIM
Speaking with TheCable, Deolu Akinsanya, a school administrator who knew certain things about the deceased, described Bello, who hailed from Lagos Island, as a brilliant lady and a devout Muslim.
“I met her October 2018 when we both sat for an international English exam. She sat beside me. We have been friends since then and I call her at least once in two weeks,” Akinsanya said.
“She was based in Kigali, Rwanda where she worked with Deloitte before coming back to Nigeria. She’s special, kindhearted, gentle, smart and very down to earth. Also a devout Muslim.”
According to him, Adewura was born on March 3, 1993, second of three children and graduated from the department of accounting, University of Lagos (UNILAG) in 2013. He said she lost her father just six months ago.
When contacted, an elder brother of the deceased declined to comment on the matter. There are reports that Bello was buried at a cemetery in the Agege area of the state on Monday but TheCable cannot independently verify this.
The death of Bello has sparked a debate among Nigerians while some blame government not living up to its responsibilities, others attributed the tragic incident to the carelessness of residents. TheCable launched a campaign for her on Monday and many have been pouring out their minds.