How scores cheated death in Anambra accident
From Obinna Odogwu, Ekwulobia
It was an accident that the people of the area would not forget in a hurry.
Residents of Amaenyi and Umudioka villages in Awka, Awka South Local Government Area of Anambra, especially those living close to the Enugu-Onitsha Old Road, were suddenly roused from their sleep by the scary sounds of a crashing vehicle and the agonizing shouts of its frightened passengers.
A commercial luxury bus on a night journey from Benue State to Anambra had, in the early hours of Monday, August 15, recorded a brake failure while descending the sloppy Zik Avenue, shortly after it had discharged some passengers and their goods at the popular Nkwo Amaenyi Market.
Although no life was lost, no fewer than nine persons sustained varying degrees of injury while more than 15 vehicles, including many tricycles, were seriously damaged in the carnage. The luxury bus with registration number: HAL 276YG operated by God’s Own Motors Ltd, also knocked down many street lights newly mounted on the dual carriage way by the Anambra State government.
The driver of the said bus, who is now at large, disappeared immediately the incident occurred. No one saw the driver again when the vehicle eventually stopped.
The multiple accidents, which started at the Nkwo Amaenyi axis of the road, covered about two kilometres, as the luxurious bus continued to hit both moving and stationary vehicles along the road; causing great panic among early road users.
An eyewitness, Mr. Oguejiofo Emeka, whose shop at No 241 Zik’s Avenue was in ruins, said he gathered that the vehicle’s brakes failed at Nkwo Amenyi after offloading some tubers of yam and other items at the market.
“Since the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway became deplorable, most of the heavy duty vehicles have been plying this old road which is not good. Now look at what it has resulted to. This accident, I am sure, must have damaged items worth more than N100million.
“In my shop alone, the goods damaged were worth N500,000 because the bus hit the Mercedes car that was parked in front of my shop. And with the force, it landed on my shop, damaging many wares and part of the building itself,” he said.
Confirming the figure, the Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission, Anambra State, Mr. Sunday Ajayi disclosed that nine persons – two females and seven males – were rushed to the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, Amaku by his men. He attributed the cause of the multiple accidents to a distressed vehicle, which he said, resulted in brake failure.
“The brake does not fail suddenly. The vehicle got distressed and the brakes failed which resulted into the multiple accident. We thank God that no life was lost but the driver is nowhere to be found. But we will get him. We increase the risk factor on the road by bringing out unrepaired vehicles on the road. So, I advise road users to keep their safety on their hands,” he said.
When our reporter visited the scene of the accident, officials of the Anambra State Traffic Management Agency (ATMA), Mobile Paramedics Initiative of Nigeria, Nigerian Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp were sighted trying to decongest the road as the accident caused a gridlock.
Particularly, the Mobile Paramedics Initiative of Nigeria led by their Commander, Mr Nwachukwu Abel, our reporter learnt, spearheaded the swift rescue of the accident victims who they immediately conveyed to the hospital with their operational vehicles.
But the survivors of the accident are singing songs of praise to God for sparing their lives, even as tears of joy streamed down their chins.
When the reporter visited them at the Emergency Unit of the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, Amaku, Awka, some of them who had regained consciousness expressed deep gratitude to the Almighty God for delivering them from the jaws of death.
Indeed, given its nature of occurrence, eyewitnesses at the scene believed that not even a soothsayer could have foretold that no life would be lost in the accident.
Speaking to Daily Sun on his hospital bed, Mr Obiajulu Emmanuel, a 300 level Electronics Engineering student of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, told the reporter that he was heading to the Examination Development Centre, Amawbia when the incident occurred. Obiajulu who sustained series of injuries, including a severe dislocation in the shoulder girdle, said he couldn’t recall how it took place, as he just regained consciousness in the clinic.
His younger brother, Chinonso Obiajulu, who boarded the same Keke NAPEP tricycle with him, also had many of bruises on him. But he told the reporter that he was the one that picked his unconscious brother from where he lay on the road.
Nonso, a 300level student of Human Physiology in the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Uli, said: “We were in a keke heading to Amawbia. All of a sudden, we heard a loud bang on our keke. The luxury bus had hit us from behind. My brother fell unconscious immediately.”
He noted that an ambulance came to their rescue on time. “But by the time I could carry him out from where I had taken him, away from the suffocating crowd, the ambulance had left. We had to get to this Emergency Unit on a keke NAPEP.”
Another survivor, Sunday Eze, a tricycle operator who had blood stains on his body, narrated that the rampaging bus met him and his three passengers in front of the Nigeria Postal Agency.
“We were riding on and eventually we heard a hit. Before I knew what was going on, it had smashed my keke. We somersaulted many times before landing in the gutter,” he narrated.
Yet another tricycle operator, Onyekachukwu Onah, a native of Nsukka community in Enugu State, told Daily Sun that his spirited efforts to escape from the scene proved abortive.
“I was at the Igwebuike Grammar School junction on the Zik’s Avenue when the incident occurred. I saw the bus from my side mirror hitting other road users, but before I could swerve off the road, it has got to where we were, hitting me and my two passengers off the road.”
Ms Ifeoma Okunwa, a hairstylist, writhed and wriggled in pain on her bed when the reporter arrived at the hospital. She said she had internal bleeding and excessive body pain. She could barely talk as she narrated her experience.
“I was going home from my shop when the keke that I boarded stopped over to get some oil, unknown to us that a calamity was about to happen. But thank God that I survived. I have internal wounds,” she stated.
Meanwhile, a medical doctor handling the victims at the Emergency Unit of the hospital, said the victims were stable, noting that adequate care would be administered. He pointed out that the victims, aside from the physical pains and injuries, were also traumatized. He also pointed out that adequate test and x-rays would be carried out to ascertain the level of injuries sustained internally by some of the victims.
Osogbo agog for Osun Festival
By Kehinde Aderemi
In the coming days, Osogbo, the Osun state capital will come alive. Tourists from within and outside the country Nigeria will converge on the town to witness this year’s edition of the annual Osun Osogbo Festival.
One of the sponsors of the event is the Nigeria Breweries Plc through its Goldberg Larger.
Mr. Tayo Adelaja, Public Affairs Manager, West and Midwest, Nigerian Breweries Plc, said: “It is to showcase the consistent connection of Nigeria’ s culture to the world and also to identify with the age-long cultural heritage of the Osogbo people.
“For the third year running, Goldberg has been the official sponsors of the beer category of the event. This is to showcase the company’s various cultural activities as testimonies of a brand that values and projects Nigeria’ s culture to the world.”
Part of the activities for this year’s celebration, the organisers informed, is the introduction of the beer village.
Adelaja explained: “The beer village is a place reserved for tourists and other fun seekers who intend to enjoy themselves to the fullest. The beer village was unveiled on August 9, in Osogbo, and the village will run for 15 days.”
He said further that the company has identified the unique cultural value of the people of Osogbo and it has since been partnering with the organisers of the festival, which he noted, has continued to put Nigeria on the world tourism map.
“The partnership is to continually promote the Yoruba cultural heritage, bearing in mind the importance of Osun Osogbo, a 600-year-old festival that showcases the beauty of the Yoruba race, and Goldberg, a beer brand in the South West region of Nigeria. This is part of our corporate social responsibilities.”
He also explained that the corporate partnership would enhance commercial activities in the town, particularly at the beer village where thousands of guests would be visiting daily, thus impacting positively on the overall economy of the town and Osun State generally.
Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Oyetunji Olanipekun (Larooye 11) expressed appreciation to the Nigerian Breweries Plc for taking its corporate social responsibility seriously. The monarch gave his royal blessing to the Goldberg team, promising to make the festival a memorable experience for all participants.
Funso Ayeni, brand manager, Regional Mainstream brands, noted: “We all know that culture evolves emotional connection. As we set up the beer village, we are trying to connect to the local economy of Osogbo and drive the economy by creating a platform that attracts all visitors, so that money will exchange hands in the state. Therefore, we are looking forward to an exciting experience with lots of music, comedy, traditional performances and rewards.”