Socio-economic were paralysed this morning at Itori in Ewekoro Local Government Area of Ogun State southwest Nigeria, as students of Itori Comprehensive High School took to the streets to protest the death of 11 of their colleagues crushed to death on Wednesday by a truck.
The truck, which was loaded with granite, also left four students seriously injured.
Hundreds of the students assembled in their school compound this morning, wailing and mourning their dead colleagues. From there, they moved to Agbon Junction and to the council secretariat at Itori, where they were met by the Ewekoro Local Government Chairman, Oludele Soluade.
Soluade appealed for calm, saying that one of the victims, named Yinka, was the grandchild of Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State.
The council boss advised them to put their grievances in writing and promised to hand it to the governor who, he said, was being expected at the scene of the accident.
Slouade noted that ghastly accidents have been occurring around that spot. According to him, a student named Seyi was crushed by a truck in June.
He promised that a permanent solution would be found to the incessant truck accidents on the road.
One of the requests in the letter of the protesting students was that government should construct an alternative road to link Agbon-Onigbedu so that trucks will no longer ply Itori Road.
Soluade said the state government is working on providing an alternative road for trucks plying the Abeokuta/Itori/Lagos road.
When P.M.NEWS visited the school today, it was deserted. The Junior School Principal, Mr. Arokodare, and his Senior Secondary School counterpart, Mr. Bamgbose, were not available and could not be reached on their phones. As at press time, police had beefed up security around the area, with two Armoured Personnel Carriers and at least eight police patrol vans bearing armed policemen to forestal possible anarchy.
The students condemned the police for the manner they handled the matter. Specifically, the students accused the police of brutalising a student, Abiodun Sunday, who sustained an injury on his hand when he was hit with the butt of a gun.
The police were also alleged to have arrested an undisclosed number of students, who were taken to Ibara Police Division in Abeokuta, the state capital. The students demanded the unconditional release of all their detained colleagues as well as the return of the the killer truck (with Lagos registration number XZ 628 AKD), which they alleged was removed from the accident scene with the help of the police.
Among the dead were Esther Abdullahi, Lekan Ayoade and Yemi Yinka. Survivors include Bankole Temitope, who is being treated at the Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta; Fisayo Asu, Daniel Obisesan and a yet to be identified pupil of Baptist Day Nursery and Primary School, Itori.
One Tobi Adeyemi is said to be missing till this morning.
The unfortunate incident has thrown a blanket of grief over Itori and Onigbedu communities.
In a related development, the death toll in the accident which occurred at Ogere at the old toll gate along Lagos/Ibadan Expressway has risen to 14.
Mr. Godwin Sangbansa, Commander, Federal Road Safety Commission Unit in Ogere, said a truck heading to Ibadan lost control and smashed into three commercial vehicles and a some private cars.
Eyewitnesses confirmed that the accident was fatal, as occupants of the crushed vehicles were brought out dead.
Those rushed to the hospital yesterday died overnight.
In another motor accident at Olodo on Abeokuta/Ibadan Road in Odeda Local Government Area of the state, four persons were killed. Two of them were said to be siblings.They were travelling from Omi-Adio to Abeokuta.