By Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia and Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
Tragedy struck in Ekiti State yesterday, as three persons were reportedly killed and eight others seriously injured in an auto-crash which occurred on Thursday night at Akonosan , a suburb of Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital.
This is as no fewer than 267 crime suspects have fallen into the dragnet of the Abia State Police Command over the last eight months, the commissioner of police, Mr. Adeleye Oyebade has said.
A DAF truck and an 18 seater Toyota Hiace, according to the state Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps, (FRSC) Mr. Ismail Kugu, were involved in the fatal accident
Kugu said , “a Road Traffic Crash occurred around 6:30p.m while it was raining, though we got the information late due to bad network caused by the heavy downpour.
“Before our arrival at the scene of the accident, a state ambulance Service had picked some injured victims, but we were able to rescue others.
“Two vehicles were involved, a DAF truck with Lagos registration number, EPE 73XU and an eighteen seater Toyota Hiace bus with Ekiti number, EFY 30XA.
“The total number of people involved were 18 including those in the truck, consisting of 12 male adults and 6 female adults.
“As of this morning, three people, two males and a female had died, while eight were seriously injured.”
He said the accident was due to break failure which caused truck driver to lose control of the truck.
The FRSC boss disclosed that those that lost their lives and were injured in the accident had been taken to the Ekiti State Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH) in the state capital.
The sector commander said that the road audit had been done and forwarded to the FRSC headquarters for possible action for the possible caution of the road noted for fatal traffic crashes.
“We have done the road audit that is the x-ray of the road to serve as caution for motorists and enable them to know the terrain of the road.
“Aside our headquarters, we also send copies to both the Federal and State Ministries of Works for urgent action as the stretch of the road is becoming a serious death trap.
“We are currently engaging the state government on how we can divert the road from Igede-Ekiti end to reduce the crash on the road as well”, he said.
Oyebade gave the statistics at a press conference where he reviewed the performance of the command within the period, saying that armed robbery suspects accounted for 134 or 50.1 per cent of the total number of suspects.
Other categories of criminals nabbed by the police include child traffickers 29 (10.1%), kidnapping suspects 26 (10%), cultists 24 (9%), car snatchers 18 and vandalism suspects 15, eight fraudsters , seven burglars , four rape suspects and two murder suspects.
CP Oyebade also said that within the same period the police command recovered 32 arms and 188 ammunition, 40 vehicles, 15 motorcycles/tricycles while 15 kidnap victims were rescued.
He said that the arrests of the 267 suspects of different shades of criminalities was as a result of the “tremendous efforts” made by the police, adding that collaborative efforts of all security agencies and the public was needed to put criminals out of business.
According to him, the Command was determined to sustain the peace being enjoyed in Abia and was therefore “working assiduously to ensure that Abians sleep with their eyes closed and pursue their daily activities without fears or threats”.
Oyebade said that he had received approval to set up tactical response squad (TRS) which would start operations in two weeks and would be charged with combating heinous crimes, especially kidnapping. He said that the TRS would be well motivated and equipped, adding that the state government would provide logistics support while the capital city of Umuahia and Aba would form the operational bases.
The CP disclosed that Abia state government had set up a reward system whereby “whistle blowers” would be paid N1 million for giving police useful information that enable police arrest crime suspects.
He also paraded two members of a kidnapping gang suspected to have murdered four members of the Abia State Vigilante Services (AVS) in February following an ambush in the commercial city of Aba.
The two suspects, Chimezie Ezeigbo, alias landlord and Emeka Ukaegbu whose nickname is small pin were nabbed while keeping guard over a kidnap victim, who was eventually rescued by operatives attached to Area command Aba.
“(The) suspects have been identified as having link in the murder of Abia State Vigilante group members recently have confessed to the crime, adding that “investigation is in progress toward the arrest of other gang members.