‘Only 10 died in Enugu school children accident’
The road crash last Wednesday in Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State claimed the lives of eight pupils and two staff of the Presentation Nursery and Primary School, not 21 as claimed by Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), the Principal of the School, Revd. Sister Udechukwu Chisomma, has said.
She spoke as the Country Programmes Director of the Global Society for Anti-Corruption (GSAC), Mrs Amaka Nweke, called on the state government to immediately intervene in the Nkwo junction, where the accident happened, by relocating artisans doing business there and erecting speed breakers on the narrow road to avert further occurrence.
A trailer belonging to a construction company had, while descending the Mmaku hill last Wednesday, rammed into a Mercedes Benz 608 bus conveying pupils of Presentation Nursery and Primary School home and dragged the bus into a nearby ditch.
Enugu State Sector Commander, FRSC, Ogbonnaya Kalu, while confirming the incident, stated that 21 died from the incident, including school children. But speaking to reporters for the first time since the incident happened, Revd. Udechukwu stated that the bus was conveying only 20 persons when the incident took place and that only 10 persons died from the school.
“The driver has about four places to stop. He had earlier dropped off some pupils in the first place and was left with only 20 persons. The 20 persons were 17 pupils of the school, two teachers and the driver. So, they were at the junction, trying to drop the pupils when suddenly the trailer lost control and collided with them.
“At the spot, six pupils died and a teacher. The other teacher, driver and remaining pupils were rushed to the hospital. One of the pupils did not sustain any injury on that day. So to cut the story short, as I am standing here, what we have recorded is 10 deaths – eight pupils, the driver and a teacher.
“The other ones that we sent to UNTH, four have been discharged and some are in their homes receiving treatment. So, for now, we have only a teacher and two pupils still in the hospital. There is no family that incurred multiple deaths. It is not true that 21 children died. It is not true that the bus carried over 50 children,” she explained.
The principal, who stated that the ugly incident had forced them to close school, added that already a date has been fixed for the funeral service of the students and staff who died in the incident.
Corroborating her story, chairman of Awgu Local Government Area, Nwankwo Okwudili Pedro, explained that apart from the 10 persons from the schools, two others, a vulcanizer and an apprentice doing business at the junction died at the spot.
The Vicar of St Marks Anglican Church, Awgu, Ven. Victor Oguejiofor, stated that of his three children involved in the accident, only one died. He thanked God that he didn’t lose the three of them in the incident.
“I lost my first daughter, an intelligent girl of seven years, who was in primary four, who despite her tender age was already cooking, serving and scrubbing the church. I don’t know why such a thing happened. I am still in trauma, though I am a cleric. I am still in tears that I lost my beloved daughter, but I believe God and I know that God will bring restoration,” he said.