No fewer than 28 persons were burnt to death on Thursday in an auto crash that occurred on the Bauchi-Ningi Expressway in Bauchi State.
The victims, including 24 members of a family, were said to be going for a wedding.
The accident occurred around midnight when two vehicles had a head-on collision, according to Punch.
The Commander, Bauchi Sector Command, Federal Road Safety Corps, Abdulrazak Najume, confirmed the accident to a correspondent in a telephone interview.
He said the crash involved a Peugeot J5 bus with number plate ZRM 91 XA and a Toyota Hummer bus, whose number plate could not be ascertained as it was burnt beyond recognition.
Najume stated that the accident occurred when the driver of the Hummer bus fell asleep and lost control of the vehicle, which collided with the J5 bus, which was conveying cows.
The commander said he led officials of the FRSC to the scene of the crash around 6.49 am for rescue operations.
Najume stated, “Yes, the accident is true, it is not an illusion. The accident occurred at the Gubi Gari village along the Bauchi-Kano Expressway.
“The vehicle conveying the wedding guests took off from Dutsinma in Katsina State and was on its way to Adamawa State when the accident occurred. There were 29 people involved in the crash and only one survived.
“The driver of the Hummer bus dozed off only to suddenly wake up to see an oncoming vehicle, but he lost control and the bus had a head-on collision with the J5 bus.
“Immediately the crash occurred, the two vehicles were engulfed in flames and all the passengers and the cows were burnt beyond recognition. Only the driver of the Hummer bus survived with serious injuries.
“In all, 28 persons made up of 24 in the Hummer bus and four in the J5 bus were burnt beyond recognition. We could only determine that four of them were males, while the sexes of the others could not be ascertained because they were burnt beyond recognition.”
Najume said the charred remains of the deceased and the driver, who sustained serious injuries, were taken to the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital, Bauchi, for confirmation and treatment.
The FRSC boss, who expressed sadness over the accident, cautioned drivers to be more careful on the roads to avoid loss of lives and properties.
He stated, “It is saddening and unfortunate losing 28 persons in a day to an accident. These drivers need a change of attitude.
“The bus driver was sleeping while driving and it was very late in the night. People should avoid night journeys because this accident was very fatal. I went there myself with my men and we saw how people got roasted. We saw a head inside the vehicle but there was no body, it’s very unfortunate.’
A relation of the victims, Abdullahi Yamadi, described the accident as “very sad.”
Yamadi, who is the Secretary, North-West Zone, Nigeria Union of Journalists, said 24 of the deceased were his relatives.
He said they were on their way to Yola, Adamawa State, for a wedding when the crash occurred.
He told correspondent, “Yes, the accident is true and all the deceased in one of the vehicles were my relatives.
“They were travelling to Yola, Adamawa State, for a wedding when the accident happened.
“They left Dutsinma, Katsina State, and they had passed through Jigawa State and were in Bauchi State when their vehicle had a head-on collision with another vehicle. There were 25 persons in the vehicle and all of them died except the driver.
“This is very sad news and very pathetic for 24 people from the same family to die in an accident in one day. It is really sad.”
In a similar incident, four persons lost their lives in a crash that occurred on the Ore-Sagamu Expressway in Ore, Odigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State, on Thursday.
Twenty-six people were said to have been injured in the crash, while the identities of the victims were not known as of the time of filing this report.
It was gathered that the accident involved two 14-passenger buses with number plates ACA 606 XT and AKL 846 YY.
An eyewitness said the vehicles belonged to different transport companies based in Lagos.
The eyewitness narrated that the vehicles were heading for Lagos State from the eastern part of the country, adding that the accident was caused by dangerous driving on the part of the drivers.
“The two vehicles were going to Lagos State. But their drivers were not careful and engaged in excessive speeding. That was why the accident happened,” he said.
Confirming the accident, the Commander, FRSC, Ondo State Command, Mr Rotimi Adeleye, said it was caused by speed limit violation by the drivers of the affected vehicles.
“Thirty persons were involved in the accident; two males and two females died, while 26 were injured,” Adeleye stated.
According to the FRSC boss, the injured victims have been taken to the Ore General Hospital, while the remains of the deceased have been deposited in the morgue of a private hospital in Ore.