Titilayo Adenugba and Modupe Oluyemi rammed a vehicle into a shop around Ikorodu, Lagos State, and hit two children in May 2021. Over a year later, they have refused to reach a settlement with the victims of their recklessness.
On May 31, 2021, Modupe Adenuga stayed at home to receive medical care while her sister looked after Michael and Busayo, her children, in her shop in Owuto, Ikorodu. Hours later, neighbours called Modupe and her landlady for an emergency: her children had been hit by a car.
Busayo was seven years old while Michael was a year and few months old. They were inside her shop when the vehicle came to hit them.
‘I DIDN’T KNOW THAT THE CAR HAD AMPUTATED MY SON’S ARM’
“I wasn’t feeling too well on the said day, so I called a doctor. Our doctor advised me to take some drugs and have some rest, so I couldn’t go to the shop with my sister. She was the one who stayed with my two children in the shop. Busayo was in school, but the school bus took her to the shop after school hours,” Modupe narrated.
“It was some minutes to six o’clock that I decided to call my sister because we usually close the shop around 5:30 pm. When I called my sister, her number was not available. Someone else called me soon, after I tried to call my sister, and asked if Femi, my husband, was at home. He mistook my phone number for my husband’s phone number.
“Later on, someone else called my landlady to know if she was at home and told her they were coming to see her. I was in the compound with my landlady at the time. When I called the person who called me first, he said that he didn’t want to speak with me. He wanted to talk to my husband instead. But his voice had some urgency or panic in it.”
Femi Adenuga, the father of Michael and Busayo, told FIJ that he was at work when he received a phone call concerning his children. Those who called Femi wanted him to respond to the plight of his children before Modupe found out.
“I work at Radisson Blu. I was at work when the call to come help my children came. We could not tell their mother immediately because she was with a child,” Femi said.
Modupe decided to go to her shop when her sister’s phone was not available. She could not find her children, but she met a congestion of vehicles and humans at her shop.
“I saw a car; it was almost inside my shop. So I got closer to know what really happened,” Modupe explained. “After asking what happened, some onlookers assure me that my children had miraculously survived a car accident. As I tried to find my children, others prevented me from moving any closer. ‘Don’t let her close to the shop; she mustn’t see those things on the floor,’ they said. I didn’t know that the car had amputated my son’s hand and it still laid at the scene.”
ORTHOPAEDIC HOSPITAL ORDEALS
The Ikorodu General Hospital referred Busayo and Michael to the National Orthopaedic Hospital in Yaba. Doctors applied first aid and carried out some tests before taking them in for surgery.
“My children were in surgery on the night of June 1, 2021. I first saw Michael, but those who were with me refused to let me go close to him. They didn’t want me to know he had lost an arm. I later noticed the difference in Michael’s body the next day and asked why he was so bandaged up. I could not make out his hand and those close to me initially tried to convince me that his hand was inside the bandage. But his hand was obviously missing and I later learnt the truth,” Modupe told this reporter.
“This accident made my children stay in the orthopaedic hospital for four months. Both of them keep coming to the hospital till date. They now have to attend periodic appointments and timely surgical procedures.
“The doctors told us that Busayo’s wound was not healing up as it should. They told us that they had to debride the wound and prevent an infection. Afterwards, the surgeons planned to carry out skin grafting, but had challenges doing so because of the severity of her wound. The specialists suggested using a vacuum-assisted closure (VAC) machine to improve Busayo’s healing process at the site of the wound. Busayo had to use the VAC machine for about three weeks.”
‘THEY ARE BEING CALLOUS, JUST WANT TO GET AWAY WITH THIS’
Femi told FIJ that Oluyemi and Adenugba made promises to sort out the hospital bills and assist Michael with prosthetic arms when needed, but his family suggested that they put their resolutions in writing.
“They went for almost two weeks and came back to propose N2 million. We did not accept that because it was so little. Even Busayo was still inside the ward at that time. She would still need more support. Michael’s prosthetic arm would need to be changed after a couple of years and they are really expensive. A doctor had predicted that Michael would need an arm that costs about N5 million when he clocked 7. The prosthetic arm we bought immediately after the accident was about N450,000,” Femi told FIJ.
Modupe told FIJ that Oluyemi and Adenugba left them for about a month. She said she was surprised at how they could stay away without saying anything.
“We concluded that this was because we did not involve law enforcement agencies and lawyers. When we consulted a lawyer, he told us that we should not accept any settlement fee less than N30,000,000. The fee had to be around that amount because Michael suffered a permanent disability,” Femi said.
“They are being callous. I just wonder how they could tell us that they are busy with work or looking for money. They just want to get away with this. I want justice to be served.”
Femi told FIJ that he filed a lawsuit against Adenugba at the Magistrate Court in Ikorodu in January. He complained about the slow moving nature of the suit and expressed fear of a cover-up.
AN AVOIDABLE ACCIDENT. A SIGNED SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT
“Mommy Dara, the lady who drove the car, was a neighbour of mine in our shopping area. She patronised me and I patronised her too,” Modupe told FIJ.
“When those who had their shops in the same area as us came to visit me at the hospital, they gave us a N5,000 token to help with the hospital bills. Some of the witnesses also explained that they were worried about a crash as the ladies were driving the car. They were learning how to drive with shops by the side of the same road. These people kept pleading that it was just an accident.”
FIJ could not establish that Oluyemi was affiliated with a driving school.
Three months after the Oluyemi and Adenugba families pleaded with the Adenugas, all parties reached a settlement agreement. They agreed on N15 million on August 24, 2021. The Lagos State Ministry of Justice’s Office of Public Defender oversaw the agreement.
FIJ contacted Adenugba, but she was unwilling to tell her side of the story. She threatened to sue FIJ if this story was made public.
“The matter is already in court and we were asked not to say anything about it, except in the court,” she said. “I have a lawyer, and it is better for me to send you to him so that you can discuss. If you go ahead, I can sue you guys.
“A case that is in court, you cannot publish it. You can’t say much about it.”
Adenugba refused to share her lawyer’s phone number with FIJ.
FIJ found out that one Larry Ajanaku was Adenugba’s lawyer and made phone calls to him, but he refused to answer them. A message sent to him had also not been responded to at press time.
WHAT THE ADENUGAS WANT
Femi told FIJ that he was advised to sue Adenugba and Olufemi if he wanted a meaningful response from them.
His family has struggled to cope with the current realities of his children.
“I just want my children to have a chance at life. Even if their vision is affected by this challenge of not having a limb, I don’t want them to live an incomplete life,” Modupe said.
“I want Michael and Busayo to live without feeling like something is missing. They do not deserve to live in a place with limitations and stigma. It wasn’t their fault that this happened; this was someone else’s recklessness. We need our voice and the voices of our children to be heard,” Femi told this reporter.
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