By Francis Igata,
ENUGU—Two separate accidents in front of All Saints’ Catholic Church, Ibagwa-Nike, Enugu, on T’Junction-Opi-Nsukka Expressway, weekend, claimed the lives of two parishioners, who were returning from a vigil, while a third was killed as she made her way to the church yesterday morning.
Parishioners had, Friday evening, trooped out at the All Saints’ Catholic Church for their usual first Friday vigil, conducted in all Catholic Churches in Enugu Diocese.
The vigil, Vanguard gathered from the Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Marcel Ani, took them on a rosary procession to Onu-ngene village from where they were returning at 4a.m.
That was when a J5 van, carrying tomatoes from the Northern part of the country, over-ran the parishioners in front of the church, killing two instantly, while eight others were severely injured.
The deceased include a pregnant woman, Agata Eze, and Emilier Ugwu, both from Isi-Uzo Local Government Area of Enugu State.
The other eight, who were severely injured were rushed to Ntasiobi Hospital, Trans-Ekulu, Enugu.
Fr. Marcel, who could not celebrate the traditional Sunday Mass at his parish, said a third parishioner, Roseline Okolo, was killed by another hit-and-run driver at the same spot, while crossing the road to enter the Church at 6.15a.m., yesterday.
Cause of accidents
Vanguard’s on-the-spot assessment showed that T’Junction-Opi-Nsukka Expressway, a state government road reconstructed by former governor, Sullivan Chime, has witnessed increased traffic, following the deplorable condition of the 9th Mile-Corner-Nsukka federal highway.
As a result, the church, on Sundays, deploys its internal Motor Traffic Control personnel to control traffic so parishioners can safely cross the busy road into the church.
Cornelius Nnaji, the Transitional Chairman, Enugu-East Local Government Area, where All Saints Church is situated, on hearing of the incidents, ordered the church to erect bumps and install road signs to forestall the recurrence of such incidents.
Nnaji told Vanguard on the phone: “It is unfortunate. I have ordered the erection of bumps to slow down vehicles in front of the church. We will also deploy our traffic personnel to the church axis henceforth. The local government will offset the costs and other logistics.”