An automobile painter, Opeyemi Oguntunbo, has died while sleeping in a car parked inside an oven belonging to JD Auto Workshop, General Paints bus stop, Lekki-Epe Expressway in the Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State.
PUNCH Metro gathered that Oguntunbo and his fellow technicians, including the supervisor, Wasiu Adesina, a co-painter identified simply as Peter, and some yet-to-be-identified persons, were about to go home after closing for the day but they encountered gridlock on the Lekki-Epe Expressway.
The gridlock was said to have discouraged them from continuing with their journey and they decided to sleep in the workshop till the next day.
Back in the workshop, it was learnt that Adesina and the others slept in the office, while Oguntunbo allegedly sneaked into a vehicle that was parked in the oven.
Oguntunbo, while sleeping in the oven, was said to have switched on the car ignition and the air conditioner, but after some hours, the smoke emitted by the car exhaust pipe enveloped the oven and he was reportedly suffocated.
When PUNCH Metro visited the scene of the incident on Tuesday, Adesina said he woke up early so that he and the others could embark on their journey on time, but was surprised that Oguntunbo was not found in the office.
The supervisor said as they were searching for him on the premises of the workshop, one of his colleagues, whom he instructed to check the oven, found Oguntunbo lying motionless in the car.
Several attempts by his fellow workers to wake him up were said to have proved abortive.
Adesina stated, “We were supposed to go home on Saturday, but because there was gridlock, we decided to sleep over in the workshop with the intention of leaving early the next day when hopefully there would be less congestion on the road. But when I woke up around 4.30am, I woke Peter up, but Oguntunbo was nowhere to be found.
“The gate was bolted from inside and he should therefore be on the premises; so, we started searching for him in the workshop and also checked all the vehicles that were parked on our premises, but we could not find him. But when I sent someone to check the oven, he returned to inform me that the engine of the car parked in the oven was still running.
“I quickly went to the oven and saw that the smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe of the car had filled the whole oven and escaped immediately the doors were opened. The oven was very hot and when I got in, I saw Oguntunbo lying on the car seat.
“I started reprimanding him for what he had done but he never responded. I never knew he had died; so, I informed my boss and we both went to the police station to report.”
Oguntunbo’s boss, Daye Oruwari, while commiserating with the bereaved family, said the deceased started working at the workshop three months before the incident, adding that the company supported the family with the burial arrangements.
He stated, “After his colleagues tried waking him up and he didn’t respond, I was informed and we went to report at the Ogombo Police Station, where the Divisional Police Officer led a team to inspect the scene of the incident. We also contacted his family and his corpse was later deposited in the mortuary.
“The next day, the family members and neighbours all came to the station and we later discussed how to facilitate the burial. The family gave us a list and we provided the things they needed and also gave them something as well. Oguntunbo started work about three months ago.”
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, said no mark of violence was found on the corpse, adding that Oguntunbo’s remains were deposited in the mortuary for an autopsy.
Elkana stated, “On October 13, 2019, around 7.10am, one Daye Oruwari reported that around 4.30am, the supervisor of JD Auto Workshop, Wasiu Adesina, informed him that his employee, Opeyemi Oguntunbo, died while sleeping inside a car parked in a painting oven unknown to his colleagues.
“Detectives were mobilised to the scene and they took statements from witnesses, but observed that there was no mark of violence on the corpse, which has been evacuated and deposited in the Mainland Hospital’s mortuary for autopsy. An investigation into the case is ongoing.”