The sad end of seven students, nine others on the highway

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By DAUD OLATUNJI, Abeokuta

They were 16 with different missions but ended up the same way – tragically. Seven students were crushed by a granite-laden truck  as they were returning home after school in  Ewekoro local government area of Ogun State. Few hours later,  another four persons died when a Toyota  Camry car marked, Lagos  MUS 948 AR, and a Mazda marked,  Lagos  JP 602 AAA, collided  at  Olodo village along Abeokuta-Ibadan Road  in Obafemi-Owode local government area. As if it was a day of death in the state, another accident that claimed the lives of five persons occured  at Ogere village, by the old toll gate along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in Sagamu local government area.

If all the 16 victims  had  known that death was lurking around, perhaps  they would have kept in-doors. Even  if the parents and relatives  of the seven students of Itori Comprehensive High School, Wasimi had a premonition of the tragedy,they might have stopped their wards  from going to school that day.

The day, a  Wednesday, had a unique  date, 12-12-12, which some people, especially in Christianity, attached importance to, but  it brought  bad  tidings  to  the families of the victims. The three separate auto accidents  occurred  on  three major federal highways: Abeokuta – Ibadan Road in Obafemi-Owode local government; Abeokuta – Lagos Road  in Remo North  local government; and   Lagos – Ibadan Expressroad  in Ewekoro local government. The first  accident was reportedly caused  by  the loss of control by the  driver of  the  granite- laden truck which  fell on the home-bound students after school hours.

The development was said to have provoked  anger of some  residents of Itori  who were mainly youths as they took  to the streets, burning tyres  in protest against the accident and smashed about 50 vehicles.

Sunday Vanguard reliably gathered that the anger of the residents stemmed from the lackadaisical attitude of the chairman of the local government, Dele Soluade, and security agencies to rescue  the victims. In an attempt to curb the spread of  the violence, an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC), belonging to the Ogun State Police Command, was deployed to  the scene.

Confirming the accident,the Itori Unit Commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Fatai Bakare, explained that the corpses of the students had been deposited at Ifo general hospital.

The second accident where four persons died, Sunday Vanguard gathered that  axes  were used by sympathisers to cut the vehicles before  the corpses of the victims could be removed. Confirming  the accident, the Sector Commander of  the FRSC  in Ogun State, Mr  Ayobami  Omiyale,  attributed the cause to dangerous driving and over speeding.

Confirming  the third accident, which claimed five lives,  the Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Muyiwa Adejobi, said  the accident was caused by a cement- laden truck.He said  the truck fell and blocked the road after Ogere in Remo axis on the way to Ibadan as against the insinuation that the victims  were killed by robbers operating on the road.Also confirming the incident, the FRSC commander in Ogere, Mr.Godwin Sangbana, said  the articulated vehicle heading to Ibadan lost control and rammed into three commercial vehicles.

Sangbana said the corpses of the victims had been deposited  at  a nearby hospital. Some residents of Ogun State blamed the accidents on the bad  condition of the roads. According to Wale Akande, an eye witness of the Itori accident, a  pedestrian bridge is needed in the area for the protection of the people especially students.

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