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Day ‘drunken driver killed’ 5 female students

Some school children were performing ablution in front of a mosque, at about 9:55pm, preparatory to the January edition of monthly Tahajjud (a special Islamic…

Some school children were performing ablution in front of a mosque, at about 9:55pm, preparatory to the January edition of monthly Tahajjud (a special Islamic prayer), which would take them through the night.

A man suspected to be under the influence of alcohol, driving a Toyota Avensis car, lost control of the car, veered off the road and it somersaulted. It crashed into and uprooted a concrete electric pole which broke up and landed on the teenagers, killing five, all females, on the spot and left many injured.

“This happened within a tinkle of an eye”, the Imam of  Rahamot Lahill Quareeb Mosque Olorunsogo Abiola Way, Abeokuta,  Imam Abdulrahaman Zubair told Daily Trust.

Four of the dead were students of Government Science and Technical College Idi-Aba, Abeokuta, while the other was from the neighbourhood.

Those who died include;  Olorode Rokibat 18 years, Adeyemi Halima 18 years, Ajibade Ayisat  19 years and Hamid Mistura 18 years, all in Year2 Catering Craft Department. The fifth, Akingbade Odunayo, was 11 years old girl.

Besides, eight of them were reportedly injured, five of who were students of the college. They are; Disu Jemilat, Moshood Anifat, Barakat Abubakar, Barakat Sakabale, and Fatimo A, while the three injured from the neighbourhood are – Akingbade Yusuf 13 years, Yekinni Sherif 18 years and Sodalubi Lateef 24 years. All the victims were immediately taken to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Abeokuta.

The imam described the tragedy as shocking and traumatizing. He said the driver of the car initially escaped, but its two occupants were apprehended on the spot. The occupants, he said, were drunk as alcohol and tramadol were recovered from the car.

Imam Zubair said; “The car was on high speeding and many had suspected a possible crash because of its excessive speed. The car had no number plate.

“It just crashed into the electric pole in front of the mosque. The students were performing ablution preparatory to the monthly Tajjud in the mosque. A number of people both young and old were already seated in the mosque. We hold our Tajjud service on the last Friday of every month.”

He added, “The following morning, we invited the school principal and parents before the bodies were released for burial.

“I could not join them for the burial because I did not recover from the shock immediately. It was really shocking and traumatizing.”

Asked whether the incident would affect subsequent monthly special prayers at the mosque, he said, “I wouldn’t know, but we only hope in God.”

A woman identified as Iya Kaosara whose son, Yusuf Akingbade, was also there, said he escaped death by divine providence but sustained injuries.

One of girls who died, Odunayo, was under the woman’s care, having lost her mother when she was 11 days old. In an emotion laden voice, the woman said, “It is great pain for me, and I can’t say how I am feeling, because girl in question was respectful, peace loving and obedient. I can’t just accept that feeling that I have lost her”.

At the FMC facility where injured victims were receiving treatment, it was gathered that two of the students were yet to recover from shock. The management of the college declined comment when our correspondent visited.

The Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Clement Oladele, said the sixth victim, a male child, died later in the hospital.

A report of an Ogun State government-owned agency, Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps (TRACE) obtained by Daily Trust blamed the incident on “driving of an illegal right hand vehicle under the influence of alcohol and drug, over speeding and reckless/dangerous driving.”

The report signed by the TRACE Corps Commander, Seni Ogunyemi, was addressed to Governor Ibikunle Amosun.

“It was also discovered during the rescue mission by the above named rescue team that the driver and the other occupants of the vehicle were likely to be drunk as bottles of alcoholic finished/unfinished drinks including a dreadful drug tramadol were recovered in the vehicle,” it said.

The TRACE boss disclosed that the  dead victims were buried at the Muslim cemetery, Olomore Abeokuta last Saturday, while the state government catered for the treatment of injured victims.

The driver, Ayobami Shoyoye, was later arraigned before a Magistrate’s Court in Isabo, on a three count charge of dangerous driving, causing untimely death and driving without drivers license. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The prosecutor, Hammed Moshood, told the court that Shoyoye’s alleged offences are contrary to and punishable under  sections 5,6(1) and section 10(1) of the Federal Highway Act Cap F:13 laws of the federation of Nigeria 2004.

In his ruling, Magistrate Adebowale granted the defendant bail in the sum of N500,000 with two sureties in the like sum. The case was adjourned till February 22nd for hearing.

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