The Sun News

These excursion deaths must stop  

Excursion affords students educational benefits. It also excites students and gives them great enjoyment. They don’t want to be left out of the trips. And the parents are always ready to contribute financially towards their children’s participation. Unfortunately, excursion has turned a path through which Nigerian students are randomly snatched away and denied the glory they seek from going to school and their parents the joy of reaping from the blessing that the children are. Since 2010 when I began to take note of the gruesome loss of lives of students during school excursions, it has remained an annual ritual. A ritual involving blood, pain and sadness. But sadly, the unending losses through excursions and the fact that nothing meaningful is being done to halt the tragedies is a reflection of the Nigerian nonchalance to important matters. How much do we really value lives, let alone the lives of our children and their safety?

The latest the excursion devil has taken away are five students of a private secondary school in Kaduna State. They drowned last Wednesday during a trip to a waterworks facility. Seventy-three of the students were on the trip to the facility by the Kaduna River. One of the survivors spoke about how they were told to walk on a stairway into a boat. The stairway collapsed under the weight of the students and nine of them slipped into the river. Only four were rescued alive. The shock that this incident has provoked across the country will soon fade away. Only the affected families would be left to mourn their losses.  

The incident that first jolted me happened in Ondo State over seven years ago. Forty-two people, most of them, pupils of a nursery and primary School in Ore, died on their way from an excursion trip to Idanre Hills near Akure. The proprietor of the school also died alongside his son, when the bus in which the school team traveled had a head-on collision with a truck.

Losing almost 40 pupils in a school in one fell swoop was too much. But between that sad incident and now, there is no indication yet that we have had the last or that something is being done to stop these avoidable deaths. Most of the reported excursion deaths across the country occurred through auto accidents.

In April 2012 three HND ll of Electrical/Electronics Engineering students of the Federal Polytechnic, Ado Ekiti lost their lives, while five others were injured on the Aramoko-Ado Ekiti Road on their way from an excursion trip to Lagos. Their bus was hit by a reckless truck driver.  

In June 2014 two students of The Bells Secondary School, Ota, Ogun State similarly died in Ikire along the Ife/Ibadan Road while returning from an excursion to Abuja.  FRSC officials attributed the accident to speeding and tyre burst.

In May 2016 eight students from Kano State died in another accident in Fiditi, Oyo State, while returning from a trip to Lagos.

This year alone three incidents had been reported. Apart from the five who drowned in the Kaduna River, Adefuwa Adebowale Christopher who was the president of the National Association of Science Students (NASS) at the Olabisi Onabanjo University died in May, just a few months to his graduation.

The students’ bus collided with a trailer along the Ile-Ife Expressway in Osun State on their way back from the Idanre Hills, leaving Adefuwa Adebowale dead and 21 other students injured.

The month before Adefuwa’s demise, another accident had claimed the life of a teacher of a school in Bayelsa when their bus was involved in an accident about 8.45 p.m. at Ugwu Onyeama, on the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway.  The incident involved 40 people, including pupils whose ages ranged from seven to 15. They were on an excursion to the Ngwo Forestry in the Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State.

The recurring accidents and deaths associated with these field trips call for debates and regulations by all stakeholders -government, schools and parents.

There are noticeable signs of poor standard of care in the most of the incidents involving the students. There are issues of using buses whose drivers are not conversant with the travel route and, therefore, susceptible to accidents; overloading; traveling late; improper assessment of road risks and risk at excursion sites among others.

Parents who bear the most severe consequences of the excursions tragedies must not be contended with paying the trip fees, but get involved in the planning for the safety and welfare of their children.

Schools organizing excursions for their students must undertake risk assessment of the trips and plan to eliminate or reduce all identified dangers.

Ministries of education at the federal and state levels are not seen to be concerned about school excursions, let alone providing guidelines for the security and wellbeing of the students.

How about getting insurance companies involved in educational trips? When insurance is taken, usually conditions are stipulated, which must be fulfilled if benefits are to be derived in the event of accident. At least, there will be a motivation to meet those conditions and consequently, enhance safety. 

It’s not just enough to grief and condole with victims’ families when these tragedies occur. We must make up our minds whether we want to continue to treat safety with levity and let excursion death to continue to snatch away our schoolchildren.

Re: Endless massacres: pure evil or perfect insanity

Although God created man in His image but right from creation man (woman inclusive as it started with Eve) has displayed evil, blaming the devil in all his evil thoughts against his kind. There is nothing anyone can do about it except being careful in dealing with one another, and noting that the other person is insane. Was it not 31 years ago that someone commissioned a scientist to produce a letter bomb. He did, only to notice that he has been used to kill another when news broke that Dele Giwa has died while trying to open a parcel in his study. Did anyone till today know the scientist or who commissioned him. The insane folks live with us till today. Man is evil, simple.

–Tony Enyinta, Isuikwuato, Abia State

Abdulfatah, God sees the end of everything at its beginning; therefore the prediction by the Angels, that humans would massacre one another on earth, was not hidden from God who knew that one of the Angels making that prediction, the devil, unknown to them, would eventually be banned from heaven to live on earth with human beings.

The devil was a loyal angel to God and like other angels, God gave him blessing for every good thing he did up to the level of ordering miracles to happen and they did to his consternation and other Angels. At this point, devil’s success overshadowed reasoning that he challenged the supremacy of the Almighty God. As a result, God pronounced that heaven would be uncomfortable for devil and he had no choice than to dive down to earth to live with humans.

Whatever blessing an Angel earns from God becomes his own. So, the devil descended to earth with all the endowments he earned from God; hence the power he wields like god on earth. That was what informed God giving human, at creation, the knowledge to know good from evil so that he would be above devil’s ploys to make him sin against God. With such knowledge inherent in human, anyone who submits to the devil does so on self-will. Most of the culprits listed in your piece killed others intentionally; as reported in the piece. Such acts could be linked to God’s warning that “when strange things begin to happen”, they are end time signs of the universe.

Where in the world are there no strange things happening; now? Have we not had herdsmen killing others across the country with relish and government looking the other way on it? What about armed robberies and scientific kidnappings? The media is awash with incredible stories such as a father impregnating his daughter. Are brothers not killing their siblings over their dead parents’ left-over properties? The world powers are at loggerheads. Insurgency is increasing with ISIS insurgents killing across the world at every opportunity.

Locally, Boko Haram still remains a problem while government is planning to exit from about a hundred diplomatic relationships; to widen the spectrum of international hatred for Nigeria. What prove all these otherwise than end time signals? God save the world, Amen.

–Lai Ashadele.

My dear Editor, permit me to observe as follows: I strongly feel that instead of the police parading firearms fabricators in Abuja, they should be wisely absorbed into the Police or Army Engineering. That’s their professional calling without any avenue to vent their expertise. As a nation we must learn to harness our rare assets. Thank you.

It has becoming sad and painful the rate at which so-called gunmen are killings innocent people without any cause and the United Nations is just watching without proffering lasting solution. lnternational security agencies should live up to their billings to arrest the ugly trend and bring culprits to book. UN must do something about constant killings taking place all over nations. It is time UN banned unauthorised people to carry arms so that we can save lives.

–Gordon Chika Nnorom.

Abdulfatah, the seeming insatiable urge by human kind to visit their fellow humans with murder and mayhem on the surface appears to be a wonder, but on deeper reflection, the reasons why that continues to happen are numerous and discernable.

Envy, frustration, jealousy, greed, coverups, evil and perfect insanity and even idleness are some of the reasons. The first recorded murder in the history of the world, which you referred to in your piece, the killing of Abel by his brother Cain, was caused by envy. Both brothers had offered sacrifices to God as was required of them but because Abel offered a more pleasing sacrifice, God had respect for him and his sacrifice; but unto Cain and to his offering,

He had no respect, the Holy Bible records in Genesis Chapter 4: verses 3 – 8. Cain did not kill Abel because Abel abused him or stole from him, but because Abel made a worthy offering to God while he Cain chose to be miserly about his own offering; and realizing the consequences of that situation, Cain decided to eliminate his brother before the blessings that were to follow his obedience to God’s injunction came to manifestation.

Most of the assassinations and kidnap incidents we hear of today have their roots in envy. A frustrated man can do anything when he is not being listened to or when he cannot have his way. In recent times, the stories of husbands killing their wives and vice versa have been told in both the traditional and social media. Some kill to cover fraud, while others do so to eliminate their business partners after the deals they went into together have become successful in order that the proceeds accrue to them alone. Even idleness as a result of too much of abundance can lead certain people to behave abnormally. The case of Stephen Paddock of Las Vegas may not be far from this. All the above are as it concerns individuals.

The next level is genocide perpetrated by a group against another group. The Holocaust against the Jews during the Second World War by Hitler and his army, the pogroms in the North of Nigeria in 1966 against the Igbo and the Hutus against the Tutsis in 1994.These ones stem from hate or the desire by one to dominate or subjugate others. However, whatever is the motive, it is an inhuman act. For a person to take the life of another human being not by accident, but willfully, is despicable.

Families, the state, religious bodies and schools have a lot of responsibilities here. Today, the bond that existed between family members in Africa before is no longer there. Modernization and urbanization have eroded that aspect of our culture to the extent that cousins do not know themselves anymore because they grow up in distant places.

Therefore, when people are confronted with certain kinds of problems they have no kin to share them with, which, if not properly handled, results in violence. The state must step up in the areas of control of illegal guns, crime detection, trials, convictions and punishment.

The religious bodies should do God’s work by showing more love and free themselves from politics.

But most especially, governments should make life more bearable for the citizenry across the globe. Justice, equity and fairness to all should be the watchword. Only man can save himself by obeying God rules and being humane. Thanks.

–Emma Okoukwu

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