Posted by By Tina Antony on
THE corpses of victims of Sundayís ghastly accident near Kano are decomposing fast at the mortuary of the Murtala Muhammed Specialist Hospital, Kano, and there were fears yesterday that they might be given a mass burial if they are not claimed within 72 hours of their deposit in the mortuary.
*Obasanjo sends condolences as remains decay
KANO ó THE corpses of victims of Sundayís ghastly accident near Kano are decomposing fast at the mortuary of the Murtala Muhammed Specialist Hospital, Kano, and there were fears yesterday that they might be given a mass burial if they are not claimed within 72 hours of their deposit in the mortuary.
President Olusegun Obasanjo, reacting to the news of the accident, yesterday, offered his condolences to the families of the victims. The death toll rose to 59 yesterday from the initial 56.
Offending odour of the decomposing corpses filled the air at the hospital yesterday with staff, patients and sympathisers covering their nose. Vanguard gathered that the mortuary was not functioning at full capacity.
A worker there said the mortuary could hardly preserve a corpse beyond 72 hours because of malfunctioning cooling system.
Vanguard gathered that relations of the victims had started arriving from Borno State to claim their remains for burial. The corpses of the spare driver and the two police escorts, one of which has no head, have already been collected by officials of the G.U.O Transport Company. The corpse of the driver of the ill-fated bus was yet to be found.
At the accident ward, one of the five survivors, Abubakar Dangaremajo Sani from Kebbi State, said he was asleep when the accident occurred. He said he only woke up after and felt pains on his leg. Said he "I donít know what happened. It was the pain on my leg that woke me up. I thank Allah for saving my life. I learnt that only five of us survived the accident. May Allah be praised. It was a very horrible sight because I was pulled out from the midst of dead bodies after hours of agony," he said in Hausa.
Abubakar who is in early 30ís told Vanguard that he was on a business trip and had joined the bus in Lokoja.
He thanked all those who worked tirelessly to rescue them from the accident, saying that they spent hours trying to lift up the vehicle and break the roof to bring them out.
Another survivour, Ali Abubakar who said he joined in the bus in Lagos, explained that it was half filled, but took more passengers in Lokoja. He said he was asleep when the accident occurred.
Abubakar who has pains on his chest and a swollen mouth, also confirmed that most of the passengers died of suffocation because they could not get help on time. "We shouted for a long time. Many could not breath because of the severe injuries sustained in the accident."
A police officer who got to the scene of the accident first, Inspector Peter, said 55 dead bodies were taken away from the accident scene, while 12 were seriously injured. Six later died.
The deputy governor of Borno State, Alhaji Adamu Dibal, who was at the hospital in the company of Kano State deputy governor, Engineer Magaji Abdullahi expressed sympathy on the death of the victim. He thanked those who evacuated the victims from the scene and Kano State government for their concern.
He described the accident as not only a loss to the people of Borno State, where the majority of the passengers came from, but to the entire nation.He prayed God for the repose of their souls. Already, Governor Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano State has declared that the surviving persons be treated free at the MMSH.
Obasanjo sends condolences
Meanwhile, President Obasanjo yesterday reacted to the accident and expressed shock and condolences to the families of the victims. His Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mrs. Oluremi Oyo, speaking on behalf of the President said he was saddened by the accident and the number of casualties. She said: "The president received with great shock the news of the accident that happened to bus passengers in Kano. He wishes to use this opportunity to condole the families of the victims. He has already sent letters of condolence to the Kaduna State governor. He is also sending a condolence letter too the Kano State governor. He also is asking all travellers to be more careful and to respect each otherís rights, and to respect road regulations. It is important to the president that all Nigerians are well and alive so that they can contribute their quota to the growth and development of our country."