Akungba community in Ondo State has frowned at the incessant deaths caused by road accidents within the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko (AAUA) town.
The community in a letter signed by the Asiwaju of Akungba Land, Dr. Bode Iwaloye, reads;
“We write with dismay the numerous negative incidents of motor accidents that have bedeviled our community within the last five years.”
“These incidents started with unprecedented students’ unrests, with their attendant destruction of properties of the University- and the Host Community, with discriminatory non-payment of reparation to the victims within the host community.”
“In spite of protests and representations from the host community on the issue, the then Vice-Chancellor, Prof. I. Ajibefun, refused to listen even though the students were made to pay for damages.”
“We have also consequentially witnessed a gradual erosion of the cordial and celebrated relationship which once existed between the University and the Host community up to the Vice-Chancellorship of Prof. Femi Mimiko. This new relationship further buried the once existing valued concerns of the University about events and happenings outside its walls.”
“Of recent, the events and happenings within the University Town have taken a new dimension, degenerating from lone non-fatal accidents being witnessed to massive fatal accidents involving loss of numerous lives and properties. The community has witnessed catastrophic accidents in the last six months which have caught global attention and painted the image of the community in very bad colours.”
“On October 31st, 2020, a trailer, loaded with bags of rice, ran into an 18 seaters Hiace bus at the front of Ebenco Petrol Station at Abata Area of Akungba. About seventeen people died, with 19 bags of rice looted. The victims of this accident were commuters passing through the town.”
“Exactly one month later another accident occurred at Ibaka market, with a trailer loaded with rice colliding with electric poles before running into the open market. In the process 25 people died from electrocution and impact of accident trailer. The accident victims were mainly residents of Akungba Community.”
“Accompanying this particular accident was the massive looting of bags of rice and the deliberate wasting of the rest that could not be carted away.”
“This stealing by some criminal elements in the town is something strange to Akungba character and value system.
On 11th December 2020, three trailers (a) Dangote Cement, (b) Cooling Van loaded with fish and (c) Trailer loaded with container of electronics had accident in front of the University gate. While three people were killed in the accident, all the contents of the burnt vehicles were looted by identifiable miscreants in the community.”
“The carcass of the burnt vehicle littered the gate of the University for over one month before it was cleared and evacuated, prior to the school resumption. The stench from the accident site was something a citadel of knowledge should not have condoned for a day!”
“Most agonizing is the accident that occurred in front of the university gate on Saturday 23rd January, 2021. Another Dangote Cement Trailer ran into the frontage of the University gate killing 27 people, including Students, visitors, residents and passers-by. This accident took the life of former SUG President Sam Praise. There were also harrowing cases of three students of the same parents being killed in the accident. Accompanying the accident was also the case of gas explosion which killed some people near the accident site on that same day.”
“Despite the trauma caused by this accident some identifiable miscreans stts still found time to loot the accident vehicle of its loads.
- The Akungba Community shares the pains of the families of the deceased and those who lost their loved ones in these serial and random accidents and pray that the Almighty Father console the bereaved.
- We are in pains that all these accidents have almost the same pattern, the fatal incidents being caused by trailers and trucks/buses cascading down the Okerigbo hill towards the university community and running near-road gatherings of people.
- These ugly incidents are being unfortunately explained in some quarters with conspiracy theories, alluding to the existence of ominous forces within the host community. The non-discriminatory nature of these accidents make the assertions not only ridiculous but insane.
- We note that these accidents were recent in the history of Akungba community and are not unconnected with the new re-construction of Ikare-Ajowa road which subequently diverted Abuja and North-bound vehicles from Okene road to Akungba-Ajowa-Obajana road, causing trailers congestion along Akungba main road, something unknown in the years before.
- We commend the AAUA Students body for their maturity in reacting to the provocative loss of lives of their valued colleagues and pray that such incidents never occur again in the life of the University town. We also sympathies with the indigenes and residents who equally lost their loved ones.
- The fact is that, outside these mentioned accidents, there have occurred, in the last six months, about fifteen other isolated cases of lower magnitude, recording few causalities. The periodicity of these accidents means that no one is safe and that the community is under the serious siege of trailer and other vehicular traffic passing through the community.
- We totally condemn the incessant lootings of the accident vehicles by some criminals residing within the community. The police and Amotekun are being called upon to stop this criminal trend and bring the offenders to book. Akungba does not condone criminality and lawlessness.
- We frown at the non-challant attitude of the University towards the most recent accident in front of its gate. Had the University made its water tankers available for use at the scene of the accident more lives could probably have been saved. We implore the University to be more concerned about what happens outside its protective walls, immaterial of their perception of the host community.
- While appreciating the recent moves by the Ondo State Government in reducing the cases of accidents in Akungba, we wish to appeal to the state Government to proffer permanent and enduring solutions to these accidents. We believe the solution can be achieved through:
a. Realigning the sections of road between
I. Okerigbo hill and Tunji and Tunji filling station and
II. AAUA Guest House (Annex) and Police post, Etioro.
b. Widening and dualising the main road between Okerigbo hill and Etioro to give more space for vehicles that lost control and keep gatherings at distance from the main road.
- We are also appealing to the state Government to help facilitate the payment of compensation to the families affected by the recent accidents involving Dangote Cement Company, being isolated accidents involving only Dangote Cement trailers.
The Akungba community would strive to abide by any safety measures put in place by the Government. We shall, on our own part, try to coordinate the affected families to seek reparations by providing legal aid. We shall, in addition, make the plight of the community known to the Federal Ministry of Works, being the owners of the Federal road passing through our community and call for their immediate intervention into the incessant road accidents.