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25 perish in Onitsha auto crash

Posted by By Sun News Publishing on 2008/02/19 | Views: 527 |

25 perish in Onitsha auto crash


It was a black Friday evening in Onitsha, the commercial city of Anambra State when a trailer driver lost control of the vehicle as a result of brake failure and crushed about 25 persons to death at the popular Upper Iweka end of Enugu/Onitsha Expressway.

It was a black Friday evening in Onitsha, the commercial city of Anambra State when a trailer driver lost control of the vehicle as a result of brake failure and crushed about 25 persons to death at the popular Upper Iweka end of Enugu/Onitsha Expressway.

The incident, according to the source, occurred while the trailer carrying a full load of iron rod rammed into a crowd whose majority were hawkers, killing about 25 of them instantly, while many others sustained serious injuries.

According to the source, the fatal incident provoked spontaneous reactions from the hawkers and other people at the accident scene as they set ablaze one of the luxury buses, which allegedly caused the accident.

An eye witness disclosed that the trailer carrying iron rod and was coming from Enugu end and was allegedly heading towards the Bridge-head iron rod market in Onitsha when two luxury buses plying one way allegedly blocked him and in its efforts to avoid head-on collision with them, coupled with the brake failure, skidded off to the opposite side of the Expressway, ran into the crowd and wrecked the havoc.

When newsmen visited the scene on Saturday morning, people clearing the dead bodies and debris said that 14 corpses were taken away Friday night immediately after the accident, seven on Saturday morning and more were still being recovered from deep drainage system along the Express-Way at the time of the visit.

The fatal accident caused a heavy traffic along the Upper Iweka part of the Expressway as vehicles coming from Lagos end could not move because the trailer had blocked the road.
Those going towards Owerri and Enugu found it hectic wading through the narrow way the police created for the vehicle to pass.

A team of policemen from Okpoko Police Station led by Divisional Police Officer (DPO) Mr. Tafida Saleh, were busy clearing the parts of the trailer and the iron rods, which the trailer was carrying to provide easy access for vehicular and human movement.

When contacted, Saleh declined comment on the incident, but the Onitsha Area Police Commander, Mr. Rasheed Akintunde who confirmed the incident said that dead bodies were still being recovered as at Saturday afternoon.

Also, men of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) were seen assisting the police in clearing the debris at the accident scene.
In their reaction, people called on Governor Peter Obi to be bold enough to relocate all the vehicle owner operating at Upper Iweka to a safe place so as to avoid a repeat in the future.

Mr. Emeka Nwaka, a trader at Ogbaru Main Market near the accident scene, said that the luxury bus owners had exhibited insensitivity and callousness at Upper Iweka with their vehicles, stating that the lands they are occupying today is government land meant for service lane of the Expressway.
He asked Governor Obi to relocate all the parks and markets along all the road in Onitsha Metropolis to avoid unnecessary waste of life in the town.

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