Five female pupils died and two others were injured on Saturday morning when a unmarked Toyota Avensis car they boarded crashed at the Olorunsogo stretch of the Abiola Way, an arm of the Abeokuta inner city roads.
It was gathered that the car had eight passengers. The car suspected to have been driven by a drunk driver, was sighted “speeding” and “driving dangerously” which witnesses said led to a tyre burst before it careened “uncontrollably” unto a side of the road.
The Public Relations Officer, Ogun State Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps(TRACE), Babatunde Akinbiyi, who confirmed the accident, stated that victims have been evacuated to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Abeokuta. Akinbiyi attributed the cause of accident to “over speeding, dangerous driving and burst tyre leading to loss of control” even as he suspected that the driver who had escaped from the accident scene, was probably drunk at the time.
“The number of occupants can’t be ascertained as at the time the rescue team got to the scene, but certainly there must be a driver who drove the vehicle and escaped from the scene.“Number of people presumed to be involved in the accident is eight. The driver presumed to have escaped from the scene before the rescue team arrived. “Number of injured: two males. Five are presumed dead – five young females(between the ages 11 and 22). Four other persons were later brought to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Abeokuta, who were said to be in shock after receiving the death of the students.
The World Health Organisation, WHO, has listed the causes of accidents to include speeding (4-5 per cent); driving under the influence of alcohol and other psychoactive substances; non-use of motorcycle helmets, seat-belts, and child restraints; distracted driving; unsafe road infrastructure; unsafe vehicles; inadequate post-crash care; and inadequate law enforcement of traffic laws. Virtually all of the causes are prevalent in Nigeria, especially unsafe road infrastructure. Most of the road networks are in decrepit state and can best be described as roads to hell where human lives are wasted daily.
The Lagos-Badagry International Highway is one of such roads and this is in spite of the ongoing conversion of the road into 10-lane super highway with rail line by the Lagos State Government with World Bank funds. Currently, many stretches of the road are death traps accounting for recurring accidents daily. Given the humongous lives that are wasted on our roads across the country with the attendant socio-economic losses, all stakeholders must join forces to make Nigerian roads safe. The WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety 2017 said that, approximately 1.25 million people die each year on the world’s roads, and between 20 and 50 million sustain non-fatal injuries. The Global Status Report on Road Safety is the first broad assessment of the road safety situation in 178 countries, using data drawn from a standardized survey. The results show that road traffic injuries remain an important public health problem, particularly for low-income and middle-income countries like Nigeria.
“All victims met at the scene were taken to the FMC where the presumed dead were taken to the morgue while the injured and those in shocks are being attended to at the FMC. Traffic was not affected as the vehicle involved is off the road,” Akinbiyi said.