In a road accident that happened at the Idodo axis along Enugu-Abakaliki Federal Highway on Sunday claim not less than 26 person sustain injuries, two commercial buses reportedly collided when one of them tried to escape an alleged checkpoint mounted by the Police at the boundary between Enugu and Ebonyi states.
Investigation revealed that the accident occurred when the driver of an 18-seater bus coming from Abakaliki to Enugu with registration number ABL 633 YU allegedly tried to avoid a Police checkpoint and collided with a Hiace bus coming from Enugu to Abakaliki, with registration number 452 YP, the two buses were damaged beyond repairs, while sympathizers helped to take the victims to the hospital.
An eye witness, Rev. Fr. Stephen Nnorun of Catholic Diocese of Manfi in the Republic of Cameroon, said the accident occured due to lack of patience and negligence on the part of the drivers who refused to stop at Police checkpoints.
He decried the attitude of some sympathisers at the scene of the incident who he said refused to assist in the evacuation of the injured to hospitals.
“More than 26 persons were lying down on the road and there was no vehicle to convey them to the hospital,” he said.
Two other witnesses at the scene — Messrs Chinonso Okeke and Ifeanyi Igwe — blamed the Police for mounting the checkpoints, which they alleged was responsible for the accident, arguing that it would have been prevented if the two drivers had exercised patience.
“One of the bus drivers was trying to avoid the policemen who tried to stop him, not knowing that there was an oncoming vehicle approaching with speed. This led to head-on collision,” one of the witnesses narrated.
In an interview, a Federal Road Safety Special Marshal, Mr. Max Nnaji, who assisted in rescuing the victims to the hospital, alleged that the accident was caused by roadblock mounted by the Police, but enjoined motorists to always apply caution while plying the highways.
Nnaji wondered why security agencies were still mounting road blocks despite the ban imposed by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, directing that all such roadblocks be dismantled nationwide.
“The accident was so devastating that passengers sustained high degrees of injuries. I attribute the accident to the recklessness of the drivers and secondly, to the way and manner policemen mount indiscriminate roadblocks on the highway,” Nnaji said.
Nnaji said some of the victims were taken to both the Annunciation Hospital and the Orthopaedic Hospital, all in Enugu, for medical treatment.
FRSC officials and some policemen also assisted in taking the injured persons to the hospital.
Efforts to get the Police Public Relations Officer, Enugu State Police Command, ASP Ebere Amaraizu, to comment was unsuccessful.