Nizaha’s family welcomes verdict

Father says neither happy nor sad, wants the verdict to serve as a lesson to others.

By Olivia Olarte-ulherr/senior Reporter

Published: Sun 8 Feb 2015, 8:02 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 7:45 PM

Nazir Ahmed, father of Nizaha, and his relative Asghar Ali looks at a picture of Nizaha. -KT photo by Nezar Balout

Abu Dhabi - The family of the KG1 student who died of suffocation inside her school bus have welcomed the verdict handed down by the court on Sunday.

“We welcome this decision,” said Rameez Rahim, uncle of Nizaha Aalaa.

Nazir Ahmed, Nizaha’s father who attended all hearings of her daughter’s case, said that he is neither happy nor sad by the decision.

“This is a correct decision but I cannot say I am happy or sad because what we lost we cannot get back, we are not going to get back Nizaha. The aim now is not to let this happen to others and that this should serve as a lesson,” Ahmed said.

He is, however, relieved that a decision has been taken to provide the family some sort of closure, although the feeling of loss will remain for a long time.

He thanked the media for covering their case, which he said highlighted the issue and resulted in this “strong decision”.

According to him, his wife Nabila is now slowly recovering from the shock of losing their youngest daughter and has taken to visiting her grave every week.

“The decision is right… because of their ignorance they committed this negligent act…Actually there is no question of being happy or being sad. The only thing (served) by this verdict is for all school organisations to take proper care that no similar case should happen once again,” said Mubarak Ahmed, another uncle and cousin of Nazir. 

Nazir Ahmed with Nizaha's elder sister Nazahah Asima Ahmed.

On October 7 last year, Nizaha, who was three and eight months old and was just in her second month in kindergarten at Al Worood Academy Private School, fell asleep and was left locked inside the school bus for hours. The driver and attendant have allegedly failed to check the bus to ensure it was empty before locking it. Nizaha was only found when the driver was preparing the bus for the students’ return home at midday.

The forensic report later showed that she died of heat exhaustion and inability to breathe.

Two weeks after the incident, the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) has ordered the closure of Al Worood Academy by August this year, the end of the current academic year.

In a statement in October, Adec said the school’s operating licence has been revoked for its “gross negligence in implementing student safety and security measure, particularly with regard to school transportation.”

The council has placed the school under the “financial and administrative supervision of Adec until its scheduled closure in order to allow students to continue their education.” Adec said it will offer its full support in transferring all students to other schools.

Owners of Al Worood Academy have declined to comment on Sunday over the court verdict and the closure of their school.

However, they expressed sadness over the loss of Nizaha and said they are “suffering” for the displacement of Al Worood’s 2,500 students, 300 employees and the school’s 37-year history.

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