About 15 minutes to the new year, 30 lives were reportedly lost in a road accident on Monday night near Bola Ige International market along new Ife-Ibadan expressway, Gbagi, Ibadan, Oyo state capital.
Our correspondent gathered that the victims were crushed to death by an oncoming trailer from Iwo road axis which rammed into the commercial buses by the entrance of the market.
Punch correspondent had around the same time, witnessed firefighters battling to quench an inferno that engulfed multimillion naira goods at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba Ibadan shop complex near Elder Taye Ayorinde house Ekotedo, Ibadan. No life was lost in this incident.
The Gbagi accident which occurred around 11:45pm, led to heavy gridlock which saw vehicles enroute Ife from Ibadan stranded for several hours.
Although, no eyewitness could say if the trailer suffered a brake failure or if the affected buses were parked on the road, sources confirmed that only two people initially survived the accident and many people were taken to a nearby hospital while other passengers were said to have died immediately.
A Toyota Camry and Nissan Micra cars were also said to have been crushed by the trailer.
Sources, however, hinted that many of the victims included people going to churches for the cross-over service at Iyana-Agbala and Egbeda Area of the capital city.
Victims included a pregnant woman, simply identified as Mrs. Funmilayo who was said to be on her way to visit her In-laws; a driver of a bus identified as ‘Orobo Baba Weather’; and many others that could not be identified as of the time of filing this report.
Confirming the development, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Adekunle Ajisebutu, puts the casualty figure at eleven, while another report obtained from the office of the Sector Commander of the FRSC, Mrs Cecilia Alao, indicated that 12 people died as a result of the incident and their corpses were deposited at the morgue of Oyo State Specialist Hospital, Adeoyo.
It noted that aside from nine who died immediately at the scene, additional three persons died on Tuesday morning out of the 10 injured victims who were conveyed to Toun Specialist Hospital, Iwo road area for medical attention.
Giving a witness account, a middle aged man who simply identified himself as Waris Olatunde said that a bus belonging to his boss named, ‘Orobo baba welder’ had loaded passenger at the spot and when it was about to embark on its journey, a trailer enroute Iwo-road from Ife axis crossed the road and wrecked the havoc.
Olatunde who claimed to be the conductor of the bus that was crushed further said that, he narrowly escaped the incident because the driver of the vehicle (Orobo Baba Weather) paid him N200 and asked him to go back instead of joining his boss on the trip.
He said, “It was only God that saved me. Usually, I use to collect money for him from the passengers before he leaves the park but in this case he said since it was late already, I should take N200 and leave.