From: David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
No less than 15 persons were feared dead, on Wednesday, along Onitsha-Owerri Road at Ihiala in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State.
It was gathered that the accident occurred when a trailer, fully loaded with bags of cement, lost control and rammed into hawkers, passersby and other Owerri-bound vehicles loading passengers by the roadside.
An eyewitness, Mr. Uchenna Udeze, said the accident occurred around 4:12p.m when the trailer, said to belong to the Dangote Group, wanted to overtake another trailer belonging to the same company but did not do that successfully and instead lost control and crushed both the hawkers and others.
But there were conflicting reports about the number of casualties.
While some people said they saw 15 dead and many others injured, others said 12 were dead. But Udeze said the number of deaths he saw was three including a female university graduate whose name was given as Ogechukwu.
The lady had reportedly concluded National Youth Service but was one of the bread hawkers along the expressway near Total filling station, Ihiala.
Udeze said the accident must have occurred as a result of over-speeding. He noted that most of the trailer drivers appeared to be under-aged and also said that government should prohibit loading passengers by the roadside on that expressway which he described as very dangerous.
Udeze said officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Ihiala, responded immediately and had to control the traffic and took care of the accident victims.
Some of the injured persons were said to be two pregnant women and a two weeks old male child and its mother. One of the survivors of the accident, Mrs. Regina Ndikoha, who spoke to our correspondent at God’s Favour Specialist Hospital, Ihiala, said it came as a film to her.
A medical officer at the hospital, Dr. Egbo Benjamin said Mrs. Ndikoha had her head injured but has been responding to treatment while other victims with lacerations were also responding to treatment.
It was gathered that the corpses of the dead were deposited at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Ihiala. Authorities at the morgue said only two corpses were deposited there.
When contacted, Anambra State Police Command Public Relations Officer, Princess Nkiruka Nwode, confirmed the incident, saying two people died, while others injured and she attributed the accident to over-speeding and reckless driving.