At least 20 people were killed when two heavy-duty trucks veered off the road and crushed many vehicles at Kugbo in Abuja yesterday, emergency management authorities said.
In the first accident at about 2.30pm, a truck loaded with iron rods lost control near Kugbo Mechanic Village and crossed over to the other lane, crushing three 12-seater Mitsubishi commercial buses and two other cars.
Ten people were killed on the spot, according to the Abuja command of the road safety corps, and the truck also destroyed two electric poles.
The second accident happened while efforts were going on to rescue victims of the first crash. As bodies and injured people were being removed from crushed vehicles, the second truck carrying earth-moving equipment ran over a car near the Mogadishu Cantonment just metres away from the scene of the first crash, killing four people.
When our reporters visited scenes of the accidents, there were blood stains and decapitated human parts strewn on the road and on the affected vehicles as rescue operations went on.
Sights of mangled human bodies made motorists along the road weep.
Spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Yusha’u Shuaib confirmed that 20 people were killed and many others injured.
Abuja Sector Commander of the FRSC Funmibi Olawoyin said 10 were killed when a trailer crashed into seven vehicles after brake failure. He said the trailer, moving towards Nyanya, veered to the other side of the road and hit seven vehicles. He said four people sustained injuries in this accident.
In his own account, Police spokesman in Abuja Moshood Jimoh said 12 people were killed in the accidents when two trailers smashed in to other vehicles. He said one of the trailers was conveying iron rods when the driver lost control and rammed into five other vehicles killing 10 people and injuring 4 others. He said the accident occurred around 3pm.
Jimoh said 30 meters away, another trailer conveying earth-moving equipment crashed in to a Toyota model car killing the driver and one other person. “The accidents are unfortunate,” he said.
Head of the FRSC in Nyanya, Mr U.O. Nart, declined giving the exact number of casualties, saying rescue operation was still in progress when our reporter contacted him.
Village Head of Nyanya, Chief Haruna Shuaibu, said he saw 15 bodies evacuated from the accident scenes. The traumatised chief called on government to create a separate way for trucks and heavy duty vehicles, especially around Kugbo to forestall accidents, lamenting that he trekked from Mogadishu Cantonment to Nyanya because of the two crashes which caused total blockade of the road for over an hour.
The two accident caused heavy traffic jams that made commuters trek long distances to reach their workplaces. Those returning home after work also got stuck in the jam.
Some motorists advised government to find a permanent solution to the problem of the road, which has repeatedly claimed lives through accidents.
A cross section of those interviewed called for a strict enforcement of time meant for trucks and heavy duty vehicles to ply roads in the FCT, while others called for the removal of coffin sellers from the side of the road.
Meanwhile, another tragedy was narrowly averted by the police at the Kugbo Mechanic Village, when a man, who appeared to be in his sixties, was attacked by angry youths for allegedly attempting to pick a bystander’s pocket.
By the time police came to arrest him, blood was gushing from his mouth as he was taken away.
By Abubakar Yakubu, Ben Atonko, Misbahu Bashir & Abdulkadir B. Mukhtar
Tuesday, 19 July 2011