Written by Lawal Ibrahim, Katsina
Eighteen people were confirmed dead and another thirty five were seriously injured when a busload of guests travelling to a wedding ceremony were involved in an accident with an articulated truck at Modoji village in Katsina State on Saturday evening.
A nurse at the Katsina General Hospital told Daily Trust that eight people were brought dead to the hospital and another ten victims who were admitted with injuries later died in the hospital.
The accident occurred at a newly constructed ring road just outside the state capital. It involved a blue-coloured tipper with registration number XA145KTN and a J5 bus with registration number XA 217DTS. There were some thirty passengers in the J5 bus, which left Rimi Local Government Area on its way to Kaita for a wedding ceremony.
The bus left Rimi town at around 2pm on Saturday for the wedding Fatiha of Malam Hafiz Amadi, an indigene of the area slated for 4pm in the neighbouring Kaita local government area. Amadi himself was in the J5 bus; survived the accident and is recuperating at the Katsina General Hospital.
Malam Bello Isa Modoji, who witnessed the accident, told our reporter that the tipper truck, loaded with sand and with six labourers sitting in it, collided with the bus at around 3.30pm. He blamed the heavy dust that pervaded the scene after some vehicle drove on the newly constructed road site for the accident.
Mallam Bello, who participated in the rescue effort, said six people died on the spot and that all the injured were rushed to Katsina General Hospital. He said it appeared that the drivers of the two vehicles did not see each other’s vehicles due to the dust.
Sector commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) in Katsina Mr Hammed Ali also attributed the accident to over loading and very high speed, saying the command will nonetheless continue with its safety education for motorists.
When our correspondent visited Rimi town, from where the J5 bus departed, funerals were being held by different families from Saturday night up until Sunday evening, when the 18th accident victim was laid to rest.
Most of the deceased were buried at the Main Rimi graveyard after funeral prayers conducted by various local imams, while many family members were seen receiving condolences at various places in the town.
Deputy Speaker of the Katsina State House of Assembly Alhaji Bilyaminu Mohammed Rimi and the local council chairman Nasiru Ala Iyatawa were seen moving from house to house to commiserate with those who lost their loved ones and to sympathise with those that sustained various injuries.
The council chairman described the event as a big tragedy for the entire people of Rimi and said the local council has already undertaken to pay the medical bills of all those that were injured in the crash.
The chairman also told Daily Trust of another marriage tragedy at Ladanawa village of the same Rimi local government, where three people lost their lives when an articulated vehicle with some twenty people on their way to attend another wedding fatiha was also involved in an accident.
However, the FRSC sector command said he had not received any reports about the Ladanawa accident.
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