John Shiklam in Kaduna
At least 27 died in auto crashes on the Kaduna-Abuja Highway and Ondo State at the weekend.
While 15 persons died on Saturday and yesterday on the Kaduna-Abuja road, 12 persons were confirmed dead while a search continues for others in an accident that occurred near the entrance gate of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko in Akoko South West Local Government Area of Ondo State.
On the incidents on the Kaduna-Abuja road, authorities said the crashes were caused by driving in the opposite direction to oncoming traffic.
The Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr. Samuel Aruwan, who confirmed the casualty figure, said the information was presented in research feedback to the Kaduna State Government by the military and security agencies conducting security operations along the route.
According to Aruwan, the figure was presented along with a report of the latest crash, which occurred around the Greenfield University in Chikun Local Government Area.
“The crash involved a trailer conveying grains and motorcycles to Abuja and was caused by a combination of speeding and driving against the direction of traffic.
“These caused the trailer to veer off the pavement and tip over on its side, as seen in the pictures attached.
“Seven persons died in the crash, with five injured, who are now receiving treatment in hospital. Troops and security agencies helped clear the site and ensure the normal flow of traffic.
“Several other fatal accidents have occurred recently along the route, all caused by drivers switching lanes to drive against the normal flow of traffic, usually leading to head-on collisions with oncoming vehicles.
“On Saturday morning, two lives were lost in such a crash around Olam Farms. Two days before that, four persons died in another crash close to the NYSC camp. A similar crash occurred last Wednesday, January 20, 2021”.
According to him, Governor Nasir El-Rufai expressed dismay at the report, and commiserated with the families of the deceased, while wishing the injured a quick recovery.
The governor also reiterated his call to drivers plying the highway to desist from dangerous practices, especially speeding and driving against the flow of traffic, which remains prohibited by the Kaduna State Government.
The accident that occurred near the entrance gate of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko in Akoko South West Local Government Area of Ondo State, was said to have happened when a truck coming from Obajana in Kogi State lost control and rammed into some shops and crushed both students and traders.
Witnesses said 12 dead bodies have been taken to the mortuary while others were still in the rubble and heap of cement.
It was gathered that many of the victims were in the shops transacting business.
According to the witness, “the truck caused the accident due to brake failure. The driver lost control and the truck rammed into the shops’’
“The incident caused traffic gridlock at the busy road as many of the vehicles were held for hours in the town.
Ondo Police spokesman, ASP Tee-Leo Ikoro, confirmed the incident but said eight bodies have been recovered from the scene of the incident.
Ikoro said efforts were on to recover other trapped victims who had been stuck inside some of the shops.