Barely three days after National Troupe of Nigeria (NTN) announced an early morning inferno that gutted a part of its artistes’ camp, tragedy struck the troupe again with the death of one of its artistes, Miss Janet Iluyomade in auto crash.
Iluyomade was involved in an automobile accident last Saturday along Ilesha-Ijesha expressway after leaving Lagos in her Toyota car to observe her annual leave. She later died on Tuesday evening after efforts to get her out of coma failed at the University College Hospital Ibadan. The late artiste was refered to the University College Hospital, Ibadan from another hospital in Ondo town.
The dancer who hailed from Ondo state was famous for leading the popular Obitun dance, a dance from her state of origin that is in the repertoire of the National Troupe. A christain who was still single at the time of her death, the late Miss Iluyomade was recruited from Ondo state in 2004 to join the National Troupe for an initial secondment period of two years. But she excelled as a dancer and so had her secondment period extended thrice.
Meanwhile, Artistic Director of the National Troupe, Mr. Martin Adaji who had promptly dispatched a team to Ondo upon learning about the accident expressed shock at the development. Adaji described the late Janet as ‘humble, respectful, talented and resourceful’ noting that her last performance as a maiden in Mike Anyanwu’s The Contest- last December at the National Theatre as ‘splendid’.
Said Adaji ‘She shone like a star and was one of the star dancers of the show. She will be sorely missed’ While promising that his management would be fully involved in the arrangement at giving her a beffiting burial, Adaji lamented ‘We did everything humanly possible to keep her alive as soon as we heard of the unfortunate incident. May God grant her rest’
Shortly before the accident in Ondo State, the male block of the artistes’ camp at the National Theatre was razed by fire, leaving property worth millions of naira destroyed. The fire incident occurred at about 10am and gutted the artiste camp of the National Troupe of Nigeria located just a few metres away from the snack and drinks bar called Abe-Igi.
In a statement by Shaibu Husseini of the National Troupe, no life was lost to the inferno but properties belonging to the artistes-occupants of the block- were completely razed before the arrival of men of the fire service attached to the National Theatre. The fire men did their best to stop the fire from spreading to other blocks.
According to Shaibu, although the cause of the fire is yet to be established, preliminary enquiry indicate that it may have been caused by power surge in one of the rooms inside the block.
In the same way, Mr. Martin Adaji and members of management team who visited the scene of the fire expressed surprise at the incident. Said Adaji, ‘This has never happened before. I understand that efforts was made to put off the fire before it spreads but the windy weather aided the fire to spread. But we thank God that no life was lost. We will set up a committee to investigate the cause of the incident’