By Rotimi Ojomoyela
Ado-Ekiti—NO fewer than 15 people have been confirmed dead in the trailer accident that occurred, Saturday night, in Iworoko, Ifelodun/Irepodun Local Government Area of Ekiti State.
It was gathered that the crash occurred at 8:45p.m., when a truck loaded with rice lost control and rammed into a popular market in the heart of the town, crushing three shops, a mini-commercial bus filled with passengers and traders.
Among the dead, according to eyewitnesses, was a mother, her child, a National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, member, traders and some students of Ekiti State University.
The ongoing strike action by the Academic Union of Universities, ASUU, was said to have minimised the death toll, as they claimed that the market the truck rammed into used to be crowded with many students of EKSU.
…at the scene
When journalists visited the scene of the accident yesterday morning, a huge crowd of sympathisers had gathered, with some wailing and others engaged in quiet conversation.
A towing truck deployed to the scene to remove the trailer and clear the highway for other vehicles, was chased away by irate mob.
Speaking at the scene, Deputy Governor of the state, Bisi Egbeyemi, commiserated with families that lost their loved ones and the injured receiving treatment at Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, EKSUTH.
Egbeyemi appealed for calm, saying government was deeply touched by the crash and the number of lives lost.
According to her, “the state governor condoles with families of those who have lost dear ones. We pray for their souls to rest in peace. Government will also ensure that those who were injured have their hospital bills paid for.
“However, we appeal to our youths to exercise restraint and calm down by not causing trouble. No one wishes for this kind of tragedy to happen. And no amount of anger and violence will bring back those already dead. So let us be calm.”
Egbeyemi later visited the injured at the emergency ward of EKSUTH, where the bodies of the dead were also deposited. He assured the hospital that their bills would be paid by the state government.
The hospital management told newsmen that 12 bodies of those who lost their lives in the accident, including students of EKSU, have been deposited at the state morgue while four wounded victims of the accident are receiving treatment in the hospital.
The rice owner
Meanwhile, the owner of the rice being conveyed by the ill-fated trailer, Senator Alasoadura (APC Ondo Central), has expressed his condolences to the families of victims and people of the area over the accident.
A statement by his media aide, Dayo Joseph, stated that the said rice was purchased from a rice mill in Kebbi State to patronise and encourage local production.
He added that the rice was for his constituents to enjoy Christmas/New year celebrations, but that the delivery was delayed till now.
Meanwhile, Police Public Relations Officer in Ekiti State, DSP Caleb Ikechukwu, said he would address the media as soon as details of the accident were made available to the command.