Riruwai-Doguwa Road in Doguwa Local Government Area of Kano State has always been a very busy road and according to drivers who ply the route, the road has not shown any visible sign of danger, especially around the Shuburu Bridge, though Daily Trust Saturday learnt that the bridge was in bad shape, until July 23 when the bridge caved in and took the lives of 18 persons.
Daily Trust gathered that it was raining heavily when the 18 commuters on board a blue Volkswagen Sharon station wagon left Doguwa to attend to their various intended activities.
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Sadly, all the passengers on board the vehicle didn’t make it to their various destinations as they were involved in an accident that killed all of them.
According to eyewitnesses’ report, the accident was as a result of a collapse bridge due to the heavy downpour. The driver of the vehicle was not aware that the bridge had broken down and as such fell into it while on speed, killing all the 18 passengers in the vehicle.
Another eye witness revealed that the accident would have been prevented if the driver of the vehicle was aware of the bad state of the bridge, adding that though the bridge hasn’t shown any visible signs of damage, villagers living around it knew that the bridge needed repairs.
Another resident of Doguwa, Malam Shehu Bello, explained that the incident happened around 8:00pm as it was dark and raining, which made visibility very poor for the driver.
He added that throughout the night, good Samaritans searched for the victims and 15 lifeless bodies were found at different locations offshore while the rest were located in the early hours of the following day.
According to him, with some identification found on the victims, their families were contacted and most of them were around in the morning to identify their loved ones involved in the accident.
“It was a pathetic scenario when families of most of these victims came in the morning to claim their dead relatives; it was so disheartening and we prayed to Allah to grant them the fortitude to bear the loss,” said Malam Bello.
Malam Sani Ubale, one of the witnesses, told our reporter that when the affected vehicle came to the collapse bridge, the driver tried his best to control the vehicle but it was too late and the car plunged into the water, resulting in the drowning of the passengers.
Malam Sani further revealed that six people involved in the accidents were from the same family. One of them – Malam Bashir Doguwa, the father of one Firdausi Bashir, an SS3 student of First Lady Science Secondary School, lost his life in the accident alongside five of his family members.
A release by the state’s Ministry of Education had revealed that Malam Bashir and the five family members were on their way from Doguwa to First Lady Secondary School to visit his daughter Firdausi who is among the students retained in the school to write the ongoing NECO examinations.
The state Commissioner of Education, Malam Muhammad Sanusi Sa’id Kiru, in the release described the death of the family members “as a colossal loss not only to the people of Doguwa Local Government but to the state in general”.
The Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Kano State, Zubairu Mato, explained that the accident occurred when a bridge linking Riruwai and Doguwa broke down as a result of the heavy rainfall.
He revealed that on board the ill-fated vehicle was seven children and 11 adults.
Similarly, when contacted, the Executive Secretary (ES) of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Alhaji Saleh Jili, confirmed the incident describing it as unfortunate.
He further revealed that delegations from the agency had already been deployed to commiserate with families of the victims.
He further stated that the state government is assessing the situation to address raised issues regarding the collapse bridge and other challenges.
The dead bodies recovered had already been buried according to Islamic rights after family members of the victims were contacted.