To hear some people tell a story and make ordinary tales sound extraordinary is a gift. But in the case of the three dead children found in the well, I still insist, there was no foul play, it was not a case of ritual killing, only childish foolishness.
My name is Wahid Abdul- Razak and I am a fireman. As a fireman, we do all kinds of rescues. Sometimes, we even engage in emergencies that many people will not relate to fire, like the day we had to separate a couple that were gummed together from some spiritual attachment.
I am also a member of the local OPC, here in this our Ikorodu. So we are in charge of watching the area. We take turns to do this. For me, it’s also another source of revenue. We all know that one way does not lead to the market and to survive in this our Nigeria of today, one has to do many jobs to keep body and soul together.
On the 26th of April, 2015; yes, it didn’t happen yesterday. I was off duty at the Fire station, so I was playing draughts with my friends under the tree at the junction. We were there when we saw about two or three people running towards us and shouting.
I heard one of them say as they approached, “Evil has entered the town, some children have fallen into the well and they are all dead!”
This is indeed evil, three children? All dead? In a well?
So I took off with my friends to the house where the evil had taken place.
There I met a crowd of people, some women were crying outside and there was so much confusion. Somehow I managed to get through the crowd to see what was really going on.
The well, is not even your normal well, as in, it didn’t have water. What I later heard is that the landlord had commissioned the digging of the well for his tenants but the more they dug, the more the well did not produce water, so the man abandoned it and I heard he refused to pay the mallams that dug the well for him, instead the man covered the well with mat, ordinary raffia mat.
So, you see, the well in itself was like a deep grave, the children, innocent children who were on holidays at that time were playing close to the well, maybe their ball rolled to the well area and you can imagine kids, they won’t even understand the danger. One of them went for it and fell in, the others, after waiting for their friend to surface, went to the well, saw their friend crying, instead of calling an elder to help them, climbed in and all of them died there.
You ask, is that what really happened?
That is my own conclusion.
I saw the bodies of the children, they were piled on one another, as if they fell on top of each other. This happened in broad day light, how no adult saw it all is surprising to even me but as one who has kids, you can imagine that their parents may have given permission for them to play outside, this our area is safe, there is no wahala of kidnapping or anything, so their parents would have no reason to think they would be in danger.
Do I blame the landlord?
I, myself, I’m a landlord myself in this Ikorodu and I know how these things can be. Maybe the landlord should have sealed the well with concrete, all of these would have been avoided, maybe the parents of the children should not have let their children play outside and maybe if the landlord had paid the mallams who dug the well, he would have begged them to cover it properly.
The landlord is still in police cell as we speak, they say they are investigating the matter, I’m not sure what they hope to find out after all their investigations. The parents of the dead children have moved from that house because I can’t imagine them living in a house that swallowed their children, and I hear a lot of the other tenants are leaving because now people say it has spiritual connotation. It is a very sad thing.
All of these won’t bring back the children that died in that well, all three were under 6 years old, one was 3, and the other two, 5 years. Imagine that.
-series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories.