Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, and former governor of the state, Senator Jonah Jang have expressed grief over the death of 16 supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party who were involved in a ghastly accident after the party’s zonal rally in Pankshin Local Government Area of the state.
The victims were said to be returning from the rally when a truck conveying them crashed near a bridge in the Panyam community, Mangu LGA of the state on Saturday.
In a statement on Sunday, Governor Lalong described the incident as tragic and a huge loss to the state.
Lalong, while commiserating with the families of the victims and those who sustained injuries also sympathised with the PDP family in the state as well as its governorship candidate, Caleb Mutfwang, over the sad incident, praying that God will grant eternal rest to those who lost their lives and quick recovery to those who sustained injuries.
The governor has appealed for caution among motorists and supporters of political parties during the electioneering period where vehicular movement is heightened across the state and the country at large.
He also urged them to put safety first and observe road safety regulations to minimise cases such as this.
Senator Jang also expressed grief over the development.
In a statement issued on Sunday by his Media Consultant, Clinton Garuba, the former governor said, “It is disheartening that these supporters who went out to show love to their party sustained various degrees of injury, while some paid the supreme price. This sad event is grievous as most of those involved are young people in their prime whose desire is to have a good and prosperous life in our dear state and nation.
“Senator Jang’s heart goes out to the families of those who lost their loved ones and those of the injured. He joins in commiserating with them and praying that God will comfort them and grant speedy recovery and healing to the injured.
“We express our thanks to the many who have stood with the families and the party at this time of grief and pray that the days ahead will bring succour to us all.
“May God continue to protect, keep and preserve us all.”
Meanwhile, the Federal Road Safety Corps, on Sunday, confirmed that 16 PDP supporters died as a result of the accident and not seven as earlier stated by the party’s campaign council in the state.
Making the clarification in a statement issued on Sunday by its Public Enlightenment Officer, Peter Longsan, the FRSC said, “The number of people involved was 99, number of people killed in the crash was 16 adult male, while 83 people sustained various degrees of injury.
“The injured victims were taken to hospitals in Panyam and Mangu towns, both in Mangu LGA. FRSC Operatives of Pankshin Unit Command, passersby, volunteers and other spirited individuals evacuated the injured victims for medical attention, while the corpses of the deceased were deposited at Mangu General Hospital, Panyam General Hospital, and Nissi Private Hospital all in Mangu LGA.
The unfortunate incident happened as a result of excessive speed and overloading, which led to the loss of control and resulted in the crash.
“FRSC has been advising that people should use vehicles strictly for the purpose the manufacturer made for, motorists to maintain a safe speed in order to avoid the risk of being involved in road traffic crashes.”
“They are further advised to ensure the installation of speed limiting devices on their vehicles and ensure proper maintenance of their vehicles.”