By PETER OKUTU, Abakaliki
When Mr Victor Idam, his wife and three others left their home in an ash-coloured Nissan Primera car for Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, they had no premonition that the journey which started on a joyous note, would end in a disaster.
The couple and their three companions who hailed from Afikpo North Local Government Area, were involved in a ghastly auto-crash which claimed their lives, leaving two others with minor injuries. The crash which was a head-on- collision with a trailer, occurred at about 3.45 pm at Berger Junction along the Ishiagu – Afikpo Road.
The deceased couple who were members of Deeper Life Bible Church were riding in a Nissan Primera with registration number UML 250 AA when it (car) collided with a yellow-coloured Mack Trailer with registration No. APP 215 XP.
A source close to the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, in Ebonyi State told Vanguard Metro on condition of anonymity, that the crash was caused by over-speeding. He advised road users to desist from over-speeding on the smooth-surfaced Ishiagu/Afikpo road.
Another eyewitness attributed the crash to the carelessness of the driver of the trailer. The source told VM that the accident occurred when the conductor of the trailer was trying to take over from his driver while the vehicle was still in motion.
“The accident was very terrible; in fact, those who came to rescue the victims had to force the doors open before the victims were brought out. I learnt that the conductor was trying to take over from the driver while on steering. Before their death, the couple were resident in Umuahia. The wife worked with the Education Board in Abia, while the husband who is graduate of Ebonyi State University, EBSU, Abakaliki worked with a media outfit located in Port Harcourt. He was a presenter with Deeper Life Satellite Television,” the source explained.
The State Coordinator, Special Marshal RF 9.2 Nigeria, Dr. Henry Urochukwu who spoke on the accident, advised government to make the teaching and learning of safety education mandatory in primary and secondary schools.
“If we start on time to talk about safe driving from our primary and secondary schools, it help the situation. That accident that happened at Ishiagu was very pathetic; learning how to drive is not just it, you need to know about the maintenance of the vehicle among other requirements.
“In this case, we must look at both human and environmental factors before we can accurately discuss the reasons behind that accident. If a driver is not conversant with the road, accident may occur. Note that the road may be well tarred but accident may occur due to poor lighting of the road at night. If a driver does over 100 kilometres per hour, it is over speeding. The psychological disposition of a driver matters a lot during driving,” he said.
Continuing, Dr Urochukwu asked a lot of rhetorical questions : “We need to look at the medical history of the driver to ascertain whether he had had a heart attack. What is his psychological disposition to driving? Is he an epileptic patient? Is the driver tired after driving for about 17 hours? Is the person prone to risk taking? Does he have a pulse for over-speeding; does he have a defective judgement while driving; does he spend time quarrelling with another road user instead of focusing on his lane? Does he have a poor perception of his or her environment? It is a very complex issue but these are the factors we need to put into consideration”
VM learnt that the bodies of the deceased have been deposited at a mortuary in Uturu, Abia State while the injured victims are currently receiving treatment in hospital.