Wole Balogun, Ado Ekiti
The trailer tragedy that occurred on Saturday night in a market in Iworoko, Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government Area of Ekiti State, has claimed 15 lives, residents in the area said.
Daily Sun learnt that the truck lost control at about 8:45pm on Saturday night and rammed into a market at the centre of the town. In the ensuing chaos, it crushed three shops and a small commercial bus called ‘Akoto’ that was filled with passengers. One of the shops, a barbing saloon, had residents and students charging their cell phones inside. They were all trapped in the accident.
Among the 15 persons said to have been dispatched to their early graves were students of the Ekiti State University (EKSU), a corps member, residents, traders in the area and a mother and child.
The ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was said to have prevented many more students of the EKSU from falling victim of the tragic incident as reports said that the market that the truck ran into used to be crowded with students when the school was in session.
When Daily Sun visited the scene of the accident on Sunday morning, a huge crowd of sympathisers had gathered, with some wailing, while others were cursing profusely.
Bags of rice , some of which had posters of a senatorial candidate of the Ondo State All Progressives Congress (APC), Tayo Alasoadura, were scattered all over the ground.
A mob chased away a tow 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 made attempts to chase away the advance security team of the deputy governor but were intimidated by a later presence of heavily-armed security operatives who came ahead of the deputy governor’s visit to the scene.
Speaking with the chiefs and angry youths of the community, Deputy Governor Bisi Egbeyemi, who represented Governor Kayode Fayemi, said: “The state governor condoles with families of those who have lost dear ones. We pray for their souls to rest in 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 dead. So let us be calm.”
Egbeyemi, who also visited the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital in the Adebayo area of the state capital, where the dead and the wounded were taken, told the doctors to begin urgent treatment of the wounded, assur- ing them that the bills would be cleared by the state government.
The hospital management told newsmen that 12 bodies, including students of EKSU, were deposits at the morgue, while four wounded victims of the accident were receiving treatment in the hospital.
Meanwhile, Fayemi has commiserated with the people of Iworoko Ekiti over Saturday’s accident in the town, which led to the death of 12 people.
The governor, who had earlier directed the Deputy Governor to pay a condolence visit to the community on Sunday morning, said in a statement that he was saddened and devastated by the news of the accident.
Immediate past Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, also commiserated with families of victims of the accident in Iworoko Ekiti.
Fayose’s media aide, Lere Olayinka, said in a statement that the former governor, who said the accident was disastrous, described the number of lives lost in the state in the last three months as alarming.
Addressing the people, the former governor promised to assist the victims in his own little way, calling on well-meaning Nigerians to come to their aid.
“I commiserate with Kabiyesi and the entire people of Iworoko Ekiti for this tragedy. May God console the families of those who died and heal the injured,” he said.