Why Ondo highways are accident-prone
Akeredolu gives succour to crash victims
Sequel to the incessant road crashes in Ondo State, the Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu-led administration has put in place efforts evacuate traders from roadsides, and relocate markets away from highways.
Akeredolu made the commitment on Sunday when he led some members of his cabinet to the scene of an accident that happened on Saturday, which reportedly killed over 20 people at Ibaka Market, in Akungba-Akoko, Akoko South West Local Government Area of the state.
There have been accounts of accidents in the part of the state, ranging from bad roads and faulty vehicles to recklessness of drivers. This led to the construction of the Oke-Alabojuto road in Ikare-Akoko by the present administration.
Many parts of the state have recorded similar incidents and in quick succession. According to an eyewitness who gave The Guardian first-hand information on the weekend’s accident, the trailer descending the Okerigbo Hill in Akungba-Akoko, lost control due to a brake failure and rammed into the crowd at Ibaka Market.
The governor, who expressed dismay at the incident and commiserated with bereaved families, said most of the accidents in that axis were caused by decrepit vehicles and recklessness of drivers.
He said: “When we heard the incident that many people died, it was pathetic. Many accidents are caused by reckless driving and unfit vehicles plying the roads. We will ensure government support for injured victims still in hospital. I want to appeal to our people to calm down despite the huge losses. Insurance shall cover many of the expenses. We must get the owner of the trailer and get their insurance company to pay.”
Reacting to the plea by the community for dual carriage road in the community, as constructed by this administration in nearby towns like Ikare-Akoko and Oka-Akoko, the governor promised them that experts would be invited to review causes of accidents in the area.
Earlier, youths in the area had taken to the streets to protest incessant accidents before the arrival of the governor, by mounting barricades on the busy Ikare-Owo highway.
They chanted various songs to register their displeasure, brandishing placards with various inscriptions like: ‘Incessant motor accidents, a danger to our existence;’ ‘Untimely deaths too many in Akungba,’ ‘Akeredolu come to our aid,’ among others.
The protesters set ablaze the trailer that caused the accident, which was fully loaded with bags of rice. The traditional ruler, Alale of Akungba-Akoko, Oba Sunday Adeyeye, reiterated the need to construct a dual carriage road in the community or create an alternative road for heavy-duty vehicles that ply the busy highway.
Oba Adeyeye lauded the governor for his prompt to condolence with the community and the support pledged by the state government in compensation for the lives lost, properties destroyed and aid for those still receiving treatment in various hospitals.
Meanwhile, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has said 16 people died in the incident, not 20. The FRSC Corps Marshal, Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi, appealed to the government at all levels to cooperate with the corps and other relevant agencies to eradicate all incidence of road traffic crashes and its attendant fatalities.
Oyeyemi disclosed that the crash occurred about 6:30p.m. on Saturday when a DAF truck loaded with bags of rice rammed into the stalls in the market and crashed into a Toyota Camry car, a Toyota Corolla car and three motorcycles.
Contrary to the rumoured number of casualties, he explained that the crash involved a total of 23 people, comprising 11 male adults, three male children, seven female adults and two female children.
According to him, out of the 23 people involved, seven were rescued with varying degrees of injuries, while 16 got killed and their bodies deposited at the Specialist Hospital, Ikare and General Hospital Iwaro Oka by the FRSC emergency rescue teams.
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