Tony Osauzo, Benin
After surviving their ordeals in Libya, eight returnees from Edo State have been reportedly burnt to death in a motor accident along Ore-Ijebu Ode-Sagamu Expressway in Ogun State.
Seven others who sustained serious injuries and the corpses of the dead were said to have been taken to the Ijebu-Ode General Hospital.
The accident which involved a white Toyota Hiace 18 seater-commercial bus with an inscription ‘God’s Care’ and marked AYB 479 XA and a Volvo truck marked KSF 79 XL, reportedly occurred at about 10:45pm last Tuesday close to Omoo River, around J4 area.
It was learnt that the ill-fated commercial bus had left Benin, the Edo State capital late in the night with 15 returnees from Libya made up of nine males, five females and a female child who had undergone profiling by the state task force on anti-human trafficking and illegal migration.
They were said to be on their way to the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) in Lagos, to receive spiritual and financial assistance from Prophet T. B. Joshua, who has consistently been a benefactor to most returnees and other less privileged members of the public.
The identities of the victims could not be ascertained but the Ogun State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Mr. Clement Oladele, who confirmed the incident yesterday, said the crash happened when the driver of the truck drove against traffic and had a head on collision with the commercial bus in the process.
He disclosed that those who got injured were five males and two females while the other eight were burnt beyond recognition.
He said the accident happened due to “route violation following a drive against traffic by the truck, dangerous driving and over speeding.
“The injured were taken to Ijebu-Ode General Hospital and the corpses were deposited at the hospital mortuary. The burnt carcasses were removed from the road by the FRSC rescue team,” Oladele said.
He advised motorists to desist from driving against traffic and urged passengers in vehicles driving against traffic to caution their drivers or report the driver by dialling FRSC toll free number 122.
Reacting, Special Adviser to Governor Godwin Obaseki on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, said the state government was deeply saddened by the unfortunate incident, saying on arrival from Libya all the returnees who are indigenes of Edo State were given the full complement of the state government by profiling them and giving them the necessary assistance that would enable them be reintegrated into the society and unite with their families.
“It is not like they were kept in prison like in Libya, they may have embarked on the trip to Lagos on their own volition. However, the state government will make effort to reach families of those who died or affected in the crash,” he said.