By Peter Duru
MAKURDI – Residents of Makurdi, the Benue State capital, have been thrown into another round of deep mourning following the death of no fewer than 27 persons in a ghastly motor accident which occured Tuesday evening, about ten kilometres from the city centre.
20 of the dead occupants of the ill-fated buses were said to have been burnt beyond recognition at the spot, while the rest seven died as a result of the various degrees of injuries sustained.
The accident, which occurred few metres away from the Ipkayongo market, on the popular Makurdi-Enugu road, has prompted an outcry by residents on the route for the dualisation of the narrow federal road which has repeatedly claimed several lives in recent times.
According to an eyewit-ness account, the accident involved two commercial buses, an 18-seater Hiace with registration number XA 283 ALD and another 18-seater Ford with registration number XD 860 MKD.
He also said that three persons, two females and a male, survived the crash.
He explained that the two vehicles were involved in a head on collision as a result of dangerous over speeding and wreckless overtaking by one of the drivers of the buses.
According to sources, the driver of the Hiace, who was conveying passengers to a popular tomatoe market in the area, attempted to overtake another vehicle and in the process lost a tyre and ended up colliding with the on coming Ford commercial bus and the two vehicles went up in flames.
Vanguard gathered that the quick intervention of villagers saved the three survivors from being consumed by the inferno as they mobilised to put out the flames, rescued the survivors and the remains of the dead.
When contacted, the Public Enlightenment Officer of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Benue State Command, Mr. Samson Audu, confirmed the accident.
He explained that the remains of the dead have been deposited at the morgue of the Federal Medical Centre in Makurdi, where according to him, the survivors are also receiving medical attention.
Vanguard recalls that just three months ago, a similar accident occurred in Makurdi where 19 church leaders also lost their lives on same route about two kilometres from the city centre.