For them, it was a stillborn dream. All the hopes and preparations to be members of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), at the end of the day, have turned out to be a fruitless endeavour. Up till yesterday, it was a dream they had all thought they had realised. What more could stand between them and their ambitions to be members of one of the foremost security agencies in Nigeria? They had scaled all the preliminary hurdles that would give them a place in the police college. Having survived the rigorous training that their chosen calling entails, they believed, as the cliché goes, that the sky is their limit.
Having received their positing letters to their different places of assignment, each of them was looking forward to an eventful career in the police. But unknown to them, fate has a different design for them. What it had in store for them did not bode well with their plans.
If they had known that their career wish would be the harbinger of their death, perhaps they would have demurred in pursuing further the urge to join the police. But being prescient is one gift God was not generous with. And 13 police recruits who were killed yesterday in an auto crash in Omu-Aran, Kwara State, were among the multitude of His creation that were not imbued with clairvoyance. Like hundreds of others, they had fulfilled all the preconditions and undergone the necessary training to proudly adorn the police uniform.
However, unlike many of their colleagues, they will never live to reap the reward of their training and perseverance.
Yesterday, on their way to Nasarawa State where they were posted to, the end of their earthly journey came when the bus conveying them to their destination crashed in Omu-Aran.
According to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), no fewer than 13 police recruits were burnt to death while six others were critically injured in yesterday’s auto accident.
The newly posted recruits were said to be on their way to Nasarawa State when the accident occurred at about 10 am.
The accident occurred on the Omu-Aran-Ilofa road at the same spot where a commercial motorcyclist died in an auto accident in December 2012.
An unspecified number of women were among the dead in the accident involving an 18-seater bus and a Mercedes Benz 190 model.
Most of the occupants of the bus, which took off from Ilorin, were said to be of Kwara origin and had just finished their police training.
They were said to be on an exchange posting to Nasarawa State.
According to a witness, the Mercedes Benz car marked AC 345 DKA was heading toward Omu-Aran before it had a head-on collision with the bus close to the Federal Government College.
The number plate of the bus was squeezed to pulp following the impact of the accident making identification impossible.
Another witness and an auto mechanic, Adekunle Azeez, said that the driver of the car, who was critically injured, had lost grip of the steering wheel, making it difficult for him to steer the car away from having the head-on collision with the bus.
“The car was on top speed on its way towards Omu-Aran and I think the driver lost grip of the steering wheel and swerved before ramming into the bus. The bus immediately caught fire,” he said.
The 13 corpses, which were burnt beyond recognition, had been deposited at the mortuary by officials of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC).
Those who sustained injuries were taken to the Omu-Aran General Hospital for treatment.
The Divisional Police Officer in Omu-Aran, Rasak Adebayo, confirmed the incident and said his command had started investigations.