Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
People wept uncontrollably in Iworoko Ekiti on Sunday as the death toll in the trailer accident that occurred on Saturday night hit 15.
The accident happened in a market in the town located in Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government Area of Ekiti State when a trailer carrying bags of branded rice of an Ondo politician lost control and rammed into the busy market.
Eyewitness said that the truck suddenly lost control at about 8:45 pm and killed the victims, including a youth corps member and children.
The trailer also destroyed a commercial bus, which had some passengers, a barbing saloon, which had customers and students charging their cell phones.
More students could have fallen victims but for the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) because many of the Ekiti State University students are resident in the town.
The scene of the bloody accident used to be a beehive of activities of the university’s students at night.
When THISDAY visited the spot of the accident Sunday morning, a huge crowd of sympathisers had massed at the scene with some wailing, while others are cursing the trailer driver for the mishap.
Bags of rice, some of which had posters of a senatorial candidate of the Ondo State All Progressives Congress (APC) Tayo Alasoadura were spread all over the ground.
The angry mob chased away a towing truck of the state’s transport office, saying that it had come too late to rescue the victims. They stoned the vehicle, forcing the driver to drive off.
They also attempted to chase away the advance security team of the deputy governor but were intimidated by the presence of heavily armed security operatives who later brought the deputy governor to the scene.
Speaking with the angry youths of the community, the Ekiti State Deputy Governor Bisi Egbeyemi, who represented the governor of the state Kayode Fayemi said: “The state governor condoles with families of those who have lost dear ones. We pray for their souls to rest on peace. Government will also ensure that those who were wounded have their hospital bills paid for. We will also take care of other things.
“However, we appeal to our youths to calm down and not cause trouble. No one wishes for this kind of tragedy to happen. And no amount of anger and violence will bring back those who are dead. So let us be calm.”
Egbeyemi, who also visited the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital along Adebayo area of the state capital, where the bodies of the dead and the wounded were taken, told the doctors to begin urgent treatment of the wounded, assuring them that the bills would be paid by the state government.
The hospital management told newsmen that 12 bodies of those who lost their lives in the accident, including students of EKSU have been deposited at the state mortuary, while four wounded victims of the accident are receiving treatment in the hospital.