Dozens dead, injured as truck conveying campaign materials crashes into market in Ekiti State

ekiti accident
A view of the accident scence at the Iworoko market, Ekiti State, Nigeria.

It was a black Saturday for the residents of Iworoko Ekiti as a Dangote truck conveying bags of rice killed dozens of people.

Official casualty from the accident is yet to be announced, but witnesses said at least 45 people may have been killed.

The rice being conveyed were bagged with campaign stickers of an All Progressives Congress (APC) senatorial candidate in Ondo State, Tayo Alasoadura.

Mr Alasoadura is a senator representing Ondo Central at the National Assembly. He is seeking re-election in 2019.

Such bags of rice are used as campaign materials. They are given to party supporters and potential voters to secure their support.

Eyewitnesses said that at least 45 persons including students have been killed in the accident. The trailer crushed a loaded vehicle and drove into Iworoko market after its break failed.

Iworoko, beside Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, is also home to thousands of students of the nearby Ekiti State University.

The number of students affected in the accident is yet to be verified.

Many of the students are, however, believed to have left the community due to the ongoing strike by the union of universities, ASUU.

An eyewitness said ambulance vehicles have done several trips to take the bodies of the victims as well as the injured to the hospital.

“It was a terrible one, the ambulance has passed here like five times trying to rescue and dump the body of affected victims in the mortuary,” he said.

Another eyewitness said the accident happened at about 8 p.m. on Saturday.

“The trailer was carrying rice meant for distribution voters in next general elections as bags of rice have the picture of Senator Tayo Alasoadura. It was actually break failure. About 45 people have died and still counting,” he said.

In the early hours of Sunday the deputy governor of Ekiti State, Bisi Egbeyemi, went round Iworoko to assess the roadside market affected by the ugly accident.

He also visited the victims receiving treatment at the State Hospital.

While the Ekiti State Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) is yet to release official statement on the accident, Caleb Ikechukwu, Ekiti State Police Public Relations Officer, said: “I cannot assert number of persons who died but there were truly casualties”

The accident has generated many reactions among Nigerians.

Reacting to the accident, Senate President Bukola Saraki on Twitter expressed his “deepest condolences to all the families affected by the Iworoko, Ekiti roadside market accident that claimed many lives. As survivors pull together in the wake of this tragedy, I wish them all a speedy recovery and pray for the repose of all departed souls. #EkitiMourns”.

The former governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, said: “I received the news of the accident at Iworoko Ekiti that took many lives as a shock. We will never witness such a sad occurrence in Ekiti State again. May the good Lord console the victims families and may the souls of the departed rest in peace.”

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