By Shola O’Neil, Port Harcourt and Osagie Otabor, Benin
Luxury bus drivers have raised alarm over incessant robbery attacks on Okene-Lokoja-Abuja highway which have led to the death of 10 of their colleagues this year.(Photo:NAN)
The Catholic Community in Edo State is mourning the death of 18 members of the St Mary’s Catholic Church, Uvbe, near Benin City.
They died in a motor accident on Saturday.
The victims were on their way to an ordination service for the priest of the Benin Diocese when their Toyota Hiace bus was crushed by a truck at Okhuahe community on the Benin – Asaba Expressway.
A source close to the parish priest, Rev Fr James Ikechukwu Chima, said the members had barely left their base when a trailer, which obviously lost control, ran over them.
Sources said it took over 10 hours for officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) to remove the mangled remains of the bus and the passengers.
Grief-stricken family members and church leaders had difficulty identifying the victims.
Attempts to reach Rev. Chima proved abortive, but his elder brother, Linus, who is a media aide to Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, confirmed the accident.
He said: “Since Saturday, we have all been dazed.
“My younger brother, Rev. Chima, is confused.
“How would he conduct the funeral mass for 18 of those who daily called him ‘Father’?
“They were his family and friends too.
“They were on a short journey of 15 minutes, from Uvbe to Benin for the ordination of new priests.
“They were excited, their expectations for Chirstmas & New Year were high. Hardly did they know that death lurked.
“They did not have a fighting chance; a truck crushed them all,” he added.
State Sector Commander of the FRSC Henry Olatunji said a Volkswagen Commercial bus marked EDO XB 326 SGD and a truck marked ENUGU YF 303 ENU were involved in the accident.
Olatunji attributed the cause of the accident to route violation, saying the truck drove against traffic.
He said those dead included nine men and nine women, whose bodies have been deposited at Our Clinic Hospital in Benin City.
via The Nation