By Oyewale Adebayo:
• Deputy Gov escapes mob attack
WITH tears still rolling down the cheeks of relations of more than 500 victims of the Sunday massacre in Dogo Nahawa in Jos South council area of Plateau State, Kogi, another North-Central state, was yesterday thrown into mourning.
Some 100 persons were crushed to death in a multiple accident involving a trailer, which lost control at the New Market area of Felele, and other vehicles on the outskirt of Lokoja, the state capital.
Yesterday’s disaster, which occurred at about 1pm, came barely three months after 90 persons were crushed to death by a trailer laden with fertilizer in Dekin, Dekin council area of the Confluence State.
Hundreds of sympathisers were seen at the scene of the accident yesterday afternoon, wailing and crying over the loss of lives and properties, worth several millions naira.
The victims, mostly traders and passengers, were killed when a trailer, belonging to the Dangote Group, laden with cement, developed a brake failure and ran into the traders and 14 on coming vehicles, including passenger buses and five commercial motor-cyclists.
The state Deputy Governor, Chief Philip Salawu, who visited the accident scene to commiserate with the traders, was nearly lynched by angry mobs, who chased him away.
He was not given any chance to utter a word by the embittered mob, who protested government inadequacies at taking care of the traders.
Salawu and some top government officials, who arrived the market at about 2.07 pm, immediately beat a retreat from the scene, as protesters chanted anti-government slogans, denouncing the location of the market by the high way on the dreaded Lokoja-Abuja road.
There was, however, a conflicting report as to the actual casualty figures, which were officially put by at 50 by the police.
The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) boss in the state, Mr. Yomi Asaniyan, who confirmed 26 persons dead and 30 injured, noted that many families have taken away the remains of their loved ones before the arrival of his men.
When the Nigerian Compass visited the scene, the sight was horrible as mangled bodies littered the market, despite spirited efforts by FRSC officials to immediately evacuate the corpses to available morgues within the state capital.
Assistant Commissioner of Police, Operations, Owolabi Adetunji, who was at the scene, appealed to Lokoja Local Government to rid the road sides of trading activities, saying that moving the traders further inside would minimise the frequent accidents at the ware point.
Involved in the multiple accident were 15 vehicles including inter-states buses belonging to Faith Travel & Tours marked XC 516 DGE and another Anambra Express marked XA 710 ACA.
Commenting on the ugly situation, the Vice-Chairman of Lokoja Local Government Area, Lawrence Segun Ikuboroje commended the security agencies for their timely response, but blamed traders for not obeying the law, banning street and roadside trading.
His words: “The market itself is not too close to the road but people transacting business are coming to the road side which is not encouraging to the Local Government.”
Salawu, who had hurriedly left the scene to avoid attack, later described the accident as a ‘tragedy’. He later visited the injured at the hospitals.
A similar accident which occurred in December last year at Dekina community when a trailer lost control and ran into a market place leading to the death of at least 90 persons.
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