By Kolade Larewaju
NO fewer than 20 passengers were yesterday crushed on the Sagamu-Benin Expressway by a truck during a robbery operation.
Hours before the 20 victims met their untimely death, two passengers lost their lives in an accident on the Ijebu-Ode/Ore end of the expressway when two vehicles were involved in another accident on Friday night.
Sunday Vanguard gathered that in the first accident, involving a passenger luxury bus XF 285 AKD, and a truck XN 808 BEN, happened in the wee hours of Saturday around the Babcock University, Ilisan and Odogbolu areas of the highway.
It was learnt that the passenger bus, said to be heading to the Eastern part of the country ran into a gang of armed robbers operating on the expressway with a huge log of wood blocking the expressway.
The robbers were said to have ordered the passengers to disembark from the bus while a sizeable number of them were ordered to lie flat on the road as the hoodlums ransacked the vehicle and the other passengers unhindered.
A trailer, which was said to be on top speed and unaware of the dangers ahead, was reported to have run over the victims, killing 20 of them, before skidding off into the bush.
The Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Commission, Ogun State, Mr. Olu-Mike Olagunju, who confirmed the incident, however, said he was not sure what caused the accident.
Olagunju, who described the incident as â€œvery unfortunateâ€, added that the dead included 13 men and seven women while two men sustained serious injuries.
He said â€œwhat we sustained serious injuries.
He said â€œwhat observed was that there was no dent on the luxurious bus, which indicated that the vehicles did not run into each other. The most likely cause of the accident could be because ofÂ activities of armed robbers.â€
The sector commander restated the campaign of the commission that people should avoid night journeys. â€œWe have said it over and over again that people should avoid night journeys. If people do not travel at nights, there is hardly a way that kind of accident would not be avoided.
At least the truck would have seen people lying on the road while the motorists would have even known that robbers are operating on the road.â€ He confirmed that the accident which claimed two lives around 10.45p.m on Friday night involved a white Toyota Hiace, marked XQ 201 EKY and a blue Bedford lorry with registration number XA 565 WER.
He added that 20 people were involved in the accident where five passengers sustained varying degrees of injuries.