If Ngozi Ifediba, a resident of 15 Ikuna Street, Liasu Road, Ikotun Egbe in Lagos, knew what was ahead, she would not have locked her three children – all below 10 years – in a room on a day when fire engulfed her one-room apartment.
The children identified as Chiamaka, Emmanuel and Chiagozie, died at Do-allars Hospital, Ikotun, where they were taken for treatment.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted a source as saying one of the victims died shortly after they were brought to the hospital.
The source said the fire, which started around 2 pm on Tuesday, was caused by a power surge.
“One child died at 11 pm on Tuesday and the second one died at 12:30 am on Wednesday,” the source said.
Mutiu Wasiu, a tenant in a building adjacent to the affected house, said the room’s window was forced open before the victims were brought out.
Wasiu said the children were found unconscious and covered in smoke.
“It was a terrible experience for me; I see no reason why someone will lock her children inside the house to buy something,” he said.
“It is only God that can save the children because the state we found them was not palatable.”
Francis Simon, a resident of the area, said the children would have been rescued on time but their neigbours were more concerned about saving their property before the fire escalated.
Simon said the fire was eventually put out before the arrival of fire service personnel.
“We managed to put the fire out with the help of outsiders and passers by,” he said.
Confirming the incident, Razak Fadipe, Director, Lagos State Fire Service, said the information they received on arrival at the scene was that the victims’ mother locked them in.
“She was said to be cooking and left them inside to purchase some items at a nearby shop when the incident occurred,” Fadipe said.