…As South Africans renew attacks on Nigerians, burn shops***
A hasty commercial bus driver has dispatched 10 people to early graves in a road accident at the Alapako/Ogunmakin end of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the bus driver, who had 11 passengers, collided with a cement-laden Dangote truck around 9pm on Tuesday.
Our correspondent gathered that the two vehicles were heading in opposite directions.
A diversion was said to have been created at that end of the expressway due to an ongoing repair work by a construction company.
The diversion had forced all vehicles travelling to and from the expressway to one side of the road.
The driver was reported to have left his lane in a bid to overtake other vehicles, and rammed into the speeding truck.
Eleven vehicle passengers were said to have been trapped in the mangled bus, as officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps struggled to rescue them.
However, only one of the vehicle occupants survived with injuries and was rushed to a hospital for treatment, while seven men and three women died on the spot. The drivers of the bus and the truck did not die.
The FRSC Route Commander, Florence Okpe, who spoke for the Sector Commander, Clement Ogundele, called on the deceased’s families to come forward for their corpses which had been deposited in FOS mortuary, Ipara.
He noted that the agency’s rescue team recovered N151,340, with 10 mobile phones and goods from the scene of the incident.
He said, “A fatal crash occurred on Tuesday, January 9, 2018 around 9pm immediately after the diversion made by the RCC for repairs of weakened bridges around the segments of the expressway.
“A commercial bus, with number plate, BD J410 YM, which was travelling from Lagos, attempted to overtake vehicles travelling at the section of the road diversion. In the process, it had a head-on collision with an unregistered Dangote truck, laden with cement and travelling in opposite directions.
“This resulted in the entire passengers being trapped and it took the intervention of the RCC crane, requested by the FRSC rescue team, to extricate the trapped passengers from the truck.
“A total of 10 passengers– seven males and three females– died from injuries sustained from the impact of the crash. The only survivor was taken to Ife-Plus, a hospital at Ogunmakin.”
He explained that aside from the driver not having a driving licence or a speed limiter, the vehicle’s tyres were expired.
“The driver of the bus was tracked to a hospital and arrested. He is in police custody and will be charged to court for causing the death of his passengers,” he added.
Oladele urged motorists to always be careful when approaching the diversion created around the Sancrete up to Fidiwo bridge by the construction company, adding that the repair of the weakened bridge would be completed before the end of January 2018.
In the meantime, the Nigerian Community in South Africa, on Thursday, said four members were in critical condition in the hospital while some shops had been burnt in renewed attacks by South Africans.
Mr Paul Nwanedo, Chairman, Nigerian Union, North West Province chapter told the newsmen on the telephone from Rustenburg that the attacks against Nigerians began on Sunday.
He said that taxi drivers in Rustenburg alleged that a Nigerian abducted and raped a 16-year-old South African girl and also alleged that Nigerians sold drugs to a local gang that attacked their members.
“ This is absolutely untrue. We have investigated and found out that the allegations are false. The union is worried about the safety of our members in Rustenburg,” he said.
Nwanedo said that four Nigerians caught by the taxi drivers were beaten and are in critical condition in the hospital while some shops belonging to Nigerians had been torched.
“ As I speak to you, we are afraid because the attacks have continued and our members are still in hiding.
“We have reported to the police and our national secretariat. We want the safety of lives and property of our people,” he said.
Mr Adetola Olubajo, President of the union, said that the national secretariat had been informed about the incident at Rustenburg.
“ Investigation by the union shows that no Nigerians abducted or raped a South African girl. Indeed, no Nigerian has been arrested for the offence and we are worried about the turn of events.
“ The lives and property of our citizens in Rustenburg are in danger and there is an urgent need for intervention. We appeal to our mission and Federal government to intervene urgently and save the situation,” Olubajo said.
Spokesman of the police in Rustenburg, Brig-Gen. Sabata Mokgwabone said the reasons for the violent protest was unclear but confirmed that “ the burnt houses are those occupied by foreign nationals,”
North West Provincial Commissioner of Police, Lt.-Gen. Baile Motswenyane called on the public to work with law enforcement officials.
“ Those who are doing this must know that they are committing a crime and drastic action will be taken, including against our own members who are involved in criminal activities,” he said.
Punch with additional report from Citizen