Rescue officials on Saturday recovered 12 corpses of victims of Friday’s accident which occurred at the Ogun axis of the Sagamu-Benin-Ore Expressway. Over-speeding has been identified as the most likely cause of the accident.
The bodies were recovered after over 9 hours of collaborative operations by different relevant agencies on Saturday. Most of the victims of the bus accident were travelling to attend a burial ceremony.
The victims are believed to have left Lagos for Edo State for a burial at Uronigbe in Oriohwon Local Government Area of Edo. Their bus plunged into a river along J4 expressway in Ijebu-East Local Government Area of Ogun State.
The bus, believed to be carrying over 30 passengers, veered off a dual carriage bridge into a river. Three people were rescued alive on Friday. The bus conveying the passengers was also recovered from the river, early on Saturday.
The recovery mission was carried out by officials of the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC; National Emergency Agency, NEMA; Ogun State Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps, TRACE; Nigeria Police Force; and the Red Cross Society.
The 12 corpses recovered include those of 11 women and the male driver. The bus was a Federal Urban Mass Scheme coastal bus with Abuja registration number BWR 428 XA.
While speaking after the recovery, the FRSC, IJebu-Ode Unit Commander, Issa Seidu, confirmed that 12 bodies were so far recovered while 3 people were rescued on Friday night and were rushed to a private hospital in Ore.
He said one of the survivors told the commission that it was 21 passengers that were in the bus, including the driver.
“Although we don’t know the actually number of people in the bus but one of the survival said they were 21 in number,” he said.
Mr. Seidu attributed the accident to over speeding.
“It is a clear case of over speeding on the part of the driver of the bus,” the Road Safety official said. “If you look at the distance from which the bus ran into the river which is about a kilometer away, it shows that the driver was on a terrible speed.”
Ibrahim Farinloye, the information officer of NEMA South-West Zone 2, in his reaction assured that the agency would commence search and rescue operation of the remaining bodies in the river.
He said the agency could not ascertain the number of the people inside the bus as there was no passenger manifest found in it.
“This is the first phase of the of the operation, the second phase which is going to start soon will be search and rescue operation for the rest bodies.
“With what we have seen, it clear that it is not an 18-seater bus, but we will get to the park where the bus loaded to get the manifest to ascertain the actual figures of people involved,” he said.
The Ijebu Zonal Commander of TRACE, Tommy Hamzat, also said over-speeding was the cause of the accident.
He urged road users to be very patient on the highways, especially during the ember months.
“I want to urge road users to be patient during this festive period because the road is patient and they also needed to be patient,” he said.