By Providence Emmanuel
PROFESSOR of Accounting at Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, Prof. Michah Okafor, has dragged Peace Mass Transit Limited, PMTL, a transportation company before an Abia State High Court, seeking N10 million as special and general damages for injuries he sustained as a result of alleged recklessness and negligence of a driver of the transport company.
The accident which left him seriously injuredwas said to have occurred on September 17, 2016 on the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, while he was travelling to Abuja with other passengers in a commuter bus belonging to the company. Okafor who is also the director of the university’s bookshop, said he had an appointment to keep in Abuja and decided to travel by road and boarded a PMTL bus with registration AKL 08 ZT, at Umuahia.
He noted that “due to the recklessness and excessive speeding by the said driver of the bus, upon getting to Lokpa/Leru, the driver could not control the vehicle but collided with a truck on the same lane.”
The plaintiff explained that his legs were trapped as a result of the impact of the collission, noting that the weight of the truck pressed on him and when he was eventually pulled out from the wreckage, he could no longer stand and had suffered severe pains in his legs and right hip.
Okafor told the court that he was rushed to Okigwe General Hospital and later to Hill Top Clinics, Enugu, a private orthopaedic hospital, where he spent six weeks and five days on treatment before being discharged and put on crutches for yet another six weeks with regular check-ups since. He said that before the accident occurred, the driver of the bus was cautioned but he ignored all entreaties to stop speeding.
He lamented that despite the manifest reckless driving of the said bus driver that almost incapacitated him, PMTL is not willing to compensate him or pay for his treatment. He is, therefore, asking the court to order the company to pay him N10million as special and general damages for injuries he sustained as a result of the negligence of the driver.
Meanwhile, in its 21-paragraph statement of defence, PMTL denied owing the university don, averring further that the claimant was fully compensated according to the terms of the “Welfare Scheme” the plaintiff signed on the passenger manifest which is binding. The company prayed the court to dismiss the suit as baseless and frivolous.