By Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu
Tragedy struck in Edo on Saturday morning as a motorist driving a BMW car crushed four females to death along the Benin-Lagos Road while the vehicle plunged into an open drain along the road. The vehicle was marked Edo CL 847 Ben.
Although the identities of the victims have not been ascertained, some reports say the four are all from the same family while another say three of them were siblings and were being accompanied to the market by the fourth victim.
When contacted, Sector Commander, Federal Roads Safety Commission (FRSC), Anthony Okoh said his men were still on ground trying to get the details of the accident.
The victims were said to be hawkers rushing to the New Benin Market for early morning sales when the incident happened.
They were said to be standing on the highway waiting for a vehicle when the car which is believed to have lost control crushed them throwing the pregnant one into the open drain.
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They could not use the service lane which is what is dedicated to commercial drivers because of ongoing work to clear the drains.
The incident led to tension as youths barricaded the road thereby creating heavy gridlock that participants going to attend the closing ceremony of the National Festival for Arts and Culture (NAFEST 2019) which was holding at the University of Benin sports complex had to find alternative routes to the venue.
The incident which happened around 6: 30 am arouse the anger of the Uselu youths who mounted roadblock to protest the killing of the four women.
Eyewitness account said the police later came and started shooting apparently to disperse the angry youths who have blocked the highway.
In the process, five persons among the youths were said to have received gunshot wounds; one in the shoulder another at the chest and the last by the side of the eye.
Spokesman of the group, Osas Ikpomwosa said the Edo police retrieved the four bodies of the victims to deposited them at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UBTH, nearby. He also stated that the Edo police arrested two of the youths who received gunshot injuries.
“The accident happened around 6:15 am opposite Uselu park, we woke up to see four female bodies on the road and two persons in the car, a man and a woman. I don’t know where they were coming from. One of the bodies was inside the gutter two on the road with one pregnant woman who was across the road making four. I guess they were going to New Benin market,” he said.
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He said when the police came they rescued the car driver who was trapped in the gutter with the woman beside him.
“We later saw a hand inside the gutter, it was the hand that made us know that somebody was actually inside the gutter. The police then packed all the dead bodies to the hospital,” he said.
However, the protesting youths vowed never to open the highway until their members arrested by the police were released.
The Edo State Police Public Relations Officer, Chidi Nwabuzor confirmed the incident and said it was unfortunate.
He said his men were only on ground to restore peace and order at the place and they are doing their best to achieve that.”It was unfortunate, our men are there to restore peace and they are doing their best. It was an accident and It’s quite unfortunate,” he said.