No fewer than eight passengers were burnt to death on Saturday night in an auto crash along Bida-Minna road involving a trailer and a Toyota Hiace bus belonging to Niger State Transport Company (NSTA).
Four of the accident victims are members of the family of the Pastor of the Potter Porch Church Minna. They were his wife, Mrs. Hellen Samuel, her three children, Saviour, Insight and Purity.
The accident occured at about 8 pm on Saturday at Kakanpegi village, about 55 kilometres to Minna, Niger state capital.
Eye witness Alhaji Hamisu Ndajiwo told The Nation that the NSTA bus in the cause of avoiding a bad portion of the Bida – Minna road ran into a trailer, crashed into a nearby push before the vehicles went in flames having all but one passenger burnt to death.
Another eyewitness, Malam Ibrahim Hussaini, a staff of Niger State Emergency Management Agency said the inferno that ensued after crash rendered the villagers and other motorist helpless in rescuing the victims.
According to him, “I was at the scene of the accident few moment it happened. Oh my God we saw people burning before our very eyes and we cannot do anything about it.
“Only one passenger, a boy young boy who was badly injured escaped the inferno and he was crying and asking us to help to save his mother from the burning vehicle but we were helpless as the blaze was too much, for anyone brave it,” Hussaini recalled.
He further said that the number of the victims would have been high but for some passengers that dropped at Bida. The NSTA bus left Lagos for Minna on Saturday morning.
Confirming the casuality figure the Special Adviser to the Niger state Governor on Emergency and Disaster Management , Mohammed Shaba said that eight bodies have been recovered from the scene of the accident, even though the bus was believed to have carried 18 passengers from Lagos.
Shaba also said that the bodies of the victims have been deposited at the General Hospital Minna.
The NISEMA boss said that investigation has shown that the NSTA bus ran into the trailer whose head lamps were off and not as a result of bad road.
“We have established that the NSTA bus ran into the trailer because the trailer had none of its head lamps on. The accident was not as a result of bad road but the failure of the driver of the trailer, who is currently on the run to put on its vehicle’s head lamps,” Shaba told our Correspondent on phone on Sunday.
He further said that only seven bodies of the victims are now in mortuary as the driver of the NSTA was buried yesterday morning in accordance with Islamic rites.
Shaba also said that state government would pick the medical bill of the only survivor, adding that the government would shoulder the funeral rites of all the victims and pay compensation to the families of the victims.
Though Sunday service held at the Potter Porch Church Minna but church members were in grief mood over the loss of their pastor’s wife and kids as the widower, Pastor Ibrahim Samuel maintained sober mood while the service lasted.
He eventually broke the news to his congregation at the end of the service
Read more: Nation Newspapers