No fewer than mine persons, including a pregnant woman, another woman with two of her children, were crushed to death in an early morning road accident that occurred on Tuesday in Benin, the Edo State capital.
The ghastly accident which happened between 5.30 and 6.00 am at Okha Market, along Sakponba Road, in the Benin metropolis, involved a tipper lorry and a commercial bus.
It was gathered that the driver of the bus with registration number BEN 435 ZN, and heading to the Ring Road axis, had stopped by the side of the road to pick a passenger when the unmarked tipper lorry which was coming from the opposite direction, rammed into it.
Eyewitnesses disclosed that the passenger who stopped the bus cheated death by the whiskers, as she was said to have come down from the bus to look for change to pay the
Seven occupants of the bus were said to have died instantly, while two others, who were rushed to the hospital, died on arrival at the hospital.
Among those who died in the accident were a woman and her two children, a pregnant woman, the driver of the bus whose name was given as Osaze and his conductor.
A resident of the area who volunteerd comment on condition of anonymity, said: “We don’t know why the tipper driver veered off the road, but we know that he hit the bus and the bus tumbled. Some people said he overtook vehicle
“The driver of the bus parked at the market to pick a passenger with N500 but the driver said he has no change for such money. The bus was waiting for the passenger who had gone to look for change when the truck rammed into it killing seven on the spot.”
The driver of the tipper was said to have escaped the scene unnoticed immediately the accident occurred, following which the irate mob that gathered set the tipper lorry ablaze, while commercial bus drivers plying the route embarked on protest .
The Public Relations Officer of Save Accident Victims Association of Nigeria (SAVAN), Abdulmalik Abdulmalik, who spoke to journalists on phone, said a baby of less than one year old was the only survivor of the accident, adding that the corpses of the victims have been deposited in the mortuary of an disclosed hospital
Abdulmalik explained that the driver of the tiper lorry was overtaking another articulated vehicle when he rammed into the 10-seater commercial bus and crushed all it’s passengers to death.
When contacted, the Edo State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Samuel Odukoya, confirmed the death of mine people in the accident.
Odukoya however said the huge crowd of people at the scene prevented their vehicle from reaching the accident spot.