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Airline official killed while fixing car by roadside

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Motor accident that claimed the life of Air Peace spokesman and journalist, Mr. Christian Iwarah

Members of the Iwarah family and witnesses to the motor accident that claimed the life of Air Peace spokesman and journalist, Mr. Christian Iwarah, on Friday have accused the Dopemu Police Division of doing a shoddy investigation into the matter.

Iwarah, who until his death was General Manager, Corporate Communications of Air Peace Airline, got his life abruptly cut short on Friday afternoon when a long passenger bus rammed into him at Dopemu area of Agege Motor Road, Lagos.

On his way home at the close of work around Mangoro, his car had developed a fault, which he alighted to fix. In the course of doing that, a driver, obviously battling a failed brake, rammed into him, leaving him severely injured. Medical help took long in coming and it came too late as the man passed on.

Julius Iwarah, one of the younger brothers of the deceased, alleged that on his way to Dopemu, the accident scene, he sighted policemen towing away the bus that caused the accident. When he approached them to show him the exact scene of the accident, the policemen declined. He had to contract a commercial motorcyclist, who led him to the site. At the site, the damaged car of the deceased was left there.

Also speaking, Barrister Abel Iwarah alleged that the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) was making himself inaccessible and difficult for the family to make a formal statement and complaint on the matter. Abel added that the police officer said he is charging the matter to court on Monday and insists he won’t be at the station for them to make a statement.

When newsmen visited the scene of the accident, only the vehicle of the deceased was found by the side of a badly crushed fence and gate leading to a church. Pastor Esther Elijah of the Gospel Power Evangelical Ministry Incorporated decried the attitude of policemen who visited the place.

She showed reporters how the bus almost killed worshippers who were praying in the church at the time the incident happened. She alleged that policemen harassed her when she asked them to also take the deceased vehicle along with the bus they were towing.

“The policemen started harassing me saying what right do I have to talk to them even if my church building and property were destroyed. Since the bus rammed into my church, all the passengers exited the vehicle into our premises as the only safe zone when the accident happened.

“I wondered why they showed more interest in the bus than the car and issues concerning the deceased and damage done to my property. One of the policemen said the owner of the bus would just go and see the Commissioner of Police, who will order the release of the bus back to him.

“When I asked them to take the small vehicle along, the policemen said they effected the towing of the bus with their personal money and that family of the deceased should come and tow the deceased vehicle. I was surprised that the policemen were taking some valuables from the deceased car and were more interested in using their personal money, as they claimed, to move the bus, which is bigger and more expensive.”

Another witness at the scene, who identified himself as Malik Musa, said the police had spoken to the owner of the bus on phone. According to Musa, “the driver of the bus said the steering pulled off and it was difficult for a diesel engine brake to respond immediately.

“It was my phone the driver and police used in contacting the owner of the bus. The owner called my line after some time saying they should meet him at the police station. He spoke to the police through my line. I thought he would be humane enough to come here and see the damage done to a human life, vehicles and other property.

“From all indications, the police seem to have ignored everyone affected by the accident. The special care and interest they are showing in the bus is suspicious. I will advise family of the deceased to seek to transfer the case from that police station. The policemen were only interested in what to take away from the deceased car. I saw them taking some things away.

“It appears they are shielding the owner of the bus company from us and he is only interested in taking his bus back from the police as soon as possible. The transport company is careless about maintenance. A vehicle steering cannot suddenly pull off without giving some signs.”

Lagos police spokesman, Bala Elkana, who was contacted over the telephone, noted that they were still investigating the matter. When The Guardian inquired to know if the killer driver was licensed to drive, Elkana said: “It is too early for that. We are still investigating and you should allow us to conclude our investigation.”


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