‘Drowned 13-year-old, beat security check to gain access into pool’

Oviri Kelvin, Sports Editor, Abuja

The Nigeria Aquatics Federation (NAF) said that Matthew Godwin, the deceased 13-year-old kid who got drowned in its swimming pool on May 3, 2022, located at the federation premises in the Package B of the MKO Abiola National Stadium, passed under the barbed wire to beat security check.

In a telephone conversation with The Trumpet, the NAF Secretary-General, Sani Mohammed said Godwin alongside his brother, trekked from the IDP area in Durumi on that fateful day to the swimming pool where he met his untimely death.

According to Mohammed, there are three professional lifeguards and a coach whose duties are to ensure that those coming into the pool can either swim or are given tubes and floaters to keep them afloat while in the pool.

Godwin and the brother, having no money with them to pay to use the services of the pool, stole away through the barbed wire and found themselves in the pool.

The Secretary-General claimed that he was told that Godwin has not swam in his life before, a statement he said the brother to the deceased corroborated.

”What happened is why I was on this two days holiday, I was with my family in Kaduna. So the coach called me and told me, confirmed by the brother that came with him, they passed under the barbed wire and entered the pool, and that boy has never swam in his life,” Mohammed told The Trumpet.

“He has never entered the pool and they were dodging, they came from Durumi, according to the coach. And when I heard that I came down to investigate and confirmed that what they told me was the truth of the matter.

“I went to the family of the deceased to confirm. They narrated the same thing that they trekked from Durumi. Even when their mom was stopping him not to go anywhere that day. The brother took him out and went to the pool. There was a furious play under the barbed wire. The boy went into the pool and they were hiding from the lifeguard.

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“In normal circumstances, we have lifeguards and coaches who are in charge of the pool. You know, I’m not a lifeguard or a coach. The responsibility man on some people that are professionals. So if you are coming into the pool, they will ask you questions. Are you conversant or can you swim? If you can swim they will watch you swim before they allow you. If you cannot swim they will give you a floater and tube.

“So these people did not come in for them to be noticed and the three lifeguards were controlling those people that came in and those people that were using what they call it, floater. So one lifeguard noticed that there was one boy under and quickly dived in.

“If you understand there is a deep place down, near the scoreboard. He went in quickly and brought him out. He was bringing out some flush. He gave him an artificial resuscitation and took him immediately to the National Hospital.

“In a minute, two or three minutes the boy died. The brother was there, the relatives were there, the coach and the lifeguards and every other person. From there the brother said they should take him home; they now went to Durumi, where all those IDPs’ are, that’s where they live.

“When they got there, the brother narrated to the family what happened. Then the coach called me to inform me. Then the following day I entered immediately. When I came, I went to Wuye to report the case. I went there to meet with the family to try to investigate if what I was told was true. What they told me was exactly what the family narrated to me. I gave them some support and reported to the ministry.

“After informing the ministry about the ugly incident, the Permanent Secretary inaugurated a committee to look into what really happened on that day,” he added.

The NAF Secretary-General noted that the permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry Of Youth And Sports Development, Alhaji Ismaila Abubakar delegated some persons who paid the family of the deceased a condolence visit and are planning on something to console the late Godwin’s family.

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