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17 die in Kwara State auto crash

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FRSC confirms 168 deaths in seven months

A head-on collision involving an 18-seater Toyota Hiace bus and a product-laden truck yesterday claimed the lives of 17 passengers along the Bode-Saadu/Jebba highway in Kwara State. The scene of the accident is 58 kilometres away from Ilorin, the capital.

The sole survivor, a male, was lying unconscious at the accident and emergency section of the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) yesterday afternoon when The Guardian visited the hospital.Doctors and other healthcare providers were seen making frantic efforts to revive him.

The mangled bodies of the crash victims were brought into the morgue by personnel of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) amid wailings from affected families who thronged the tertiary health institution to identify their departed loved ones.

The passenger bus, it was learnt, was mainly peopled by post-Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) examination candidates who were returning to Ilorin from Zaria, Kaduna State. Also in the ill-fated vehicle, was a young man who was to best-man a wedding tomorrow in the Kwara capital city.

Confirming the incident in the absence of the vacationing Sector Commander of the FRSC in Ilorin, the Head of Operations of the corps’ zonal office,

Martins Aluko, linked the mishap, which occurred between 12 midnight and 1:00a.m., to over-speeding. He, nevertheless, cautioned against “deliberate night travels”, urging observance of road signs and safe driving.

In a related development, the corps has confirmed 168 deaths and injuries to 969 others in the 1,360 road crashes that occurred in Bauchi, Yobe and Borno states between January and July this year.

The Zone 12 Commander of the FRSC, Assistant Corps Marshal Imoh Etuk, made the disclosure yesterday at the third quarter retreat for heads of operations in the region. He said the meeting was to make plans for the end of year activities.Etuk advised road users to adhere to “proper travel management” and avoid night journeys.

The FRSC chief also enjoined drivers to come pick up their unclaimed licences running into 4,795 in the three states. He gave the figures as 734 for Bauchi, Borno (3,658), while Yobe has 403 of them still lying unpicked.

He hinted that the corps would monitor driving schools during this period “so that there are no untoward practices.” Etuk added: “Many people are still driving without licences. We still stand by our deadline of October 2,2019 to clampdown on those who fail to comply.”

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