By Dayo Johnson
NO fewer than six persons reportedly lost their lives in an auto crash which involved the convoy of the Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, on the Okitipupa- Akinfosile road.
The governor was on his way to Lagos for official engagement after returning from the Militants’ Disarmament Programme at Arogbo in the Ese-Odo Local Government Area of the state on Sunday.
Three persons including two journalists and the driver of the Governor’s Press Crew bus died on the spot while three other persons reportedly lost their lives in the other commercial vehicle.
The twoÂ journalists were attached to the Governorâ€™s office from the State Ministry of Information.
Gov. Mimiko, who helped in the rescue of the accident victims, expressed his condolence to the families of the three officials of the Government House Press Crew who died in the crash.
Six other journalists in the Press Crew BusÂ with number-plate ODGH 238, who were seriously injured have been transferred from the Okitipupa General Hospital to the State Specialist Hospital in Akure for proper medical attention.
They are of the government and independent broadcasting corporations across the country.
Meanwhile, the state chapter ofÂ the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), yesterday, in a statement signed by Messrs Dele Atunbi and James Sowole, the state Chairman and Secretary respectively,Â said there was need to institute special insurance policy for journalists particularly those attached directly to political office holders.
It was gathered that the two buses had a head-on collision at a bend on the Okitipupa- Akinfosile road.
The commercial bus driver was said to be coming from Lagos and heading towards Akure when he rammed into the Press Crew which was in the convoy of the governor.
The two journalists who died in the crash were Mr. S.B. Elekan and Adewunmi Olatunji Samuel and the driver, popularly called Zamfara.
Vanguard learnt that the commercial bus was said to be carrying fuel in some jerry cans and after the collision it went up in flame and the three persons in the Press crew bus died instantly and five others in the other commercial vehicle.
The bus reportedly missed the governorâ€™s pilot vehicle by chance and then rammed into the bus conveying the journalists.
The corpse of the deceased have been deposited at Akure and Okitipupa Specialist Hospitals mortuaries while the governor had sent emissaries to their families
Meanwhile, Governor Mimiko has expressed his heartfelt condolence to the families of deceased.
A release issued by the Chief Pres Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Kolawole Olabisi in Akure yesterday said that the Governor was shocked and personally touched that the three men, whom he described as dutiful, loyal and committed to their duties, lost their lives in the course of their official duties.
The release said that â€œ. Governor also commiserated with the families of occupants of the commercial vehicle who also lost their lives in the accident.
â€œDr Mimiko had to cancel all official government engagements including his attendance of the meetings of the National Council of States and the Governorsâ€™ Forum in Abuja due to the sad incident.
â€œWhile praying for the repose of the souls of the deceased, the Governor called on God to give their families the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
â€œThe Governor, however, enjoined all citizens of Ondo State to intensify their prayers to God for peace, tranquility, safety on the road and prosperity in the State.