The truck driver who caused the death of 11 university students in Ogun State is still on the run, two weeks after the incident.
The driver of the truck had killed the students while driving on the wrong side of the Benin-Ore-Sagamu Highway on May 26.
The container on the vehicle fell on the bus, killing 11 of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, OOU, students on the spot. One student, however, survived and is still receiving treatment at the hospital.
The truck driver took to his heels following the accident and is still at large.
Fellow students of the deceased embarked on a protest, giving the police a week’s ultimatum to find the driver. The students also vented their anger on the company that owns the truck, destroying property.
Speaking to journalists recently, the president of the Students’ Union Government of the university, Adenola Adegbesan, called on government to compensate the families of the deceased as it would give succour although not bring back the dead.
“As I am speaking with you, I have not received any correspondence from the truck owners not even to commiserate with us for the lives lost,” Mr. Adegbesan said. “Such acts of recklessness cannot be condoned on our roads and we demand that the fleeing driver be remanded and prosecuted. It will serve as a deterrent to other motorists who fail to obey traffic rules, especially drivers of heavy duty vehicles who drive without regard for other road users.”
The student union president also advised government to regulate the movement of trucks on the highways by restricting their operations to the night.
“I would like government to look into how they can reduce the number of heavy duty vehicles on the highways,” he said. “The sheer number of trucks on the roads these days is alarming and they are always a disaster waiting to happen due to the drivers’ recklessness.”
When contacted, the Ogun State Police Command spokesperson, Muyiwa Adejobi, said the police was still on the trail of the driver. He said the truck was still in police custody as at the time of filing this report.
The bereaved families have since collected the corpses of the students for burial.
Meanwhile, in the wake of the incessant road accidents in Ogun, the state government said it is working towards criminalising traffic offenses to bring erring motorists to justice.
The Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, made this known on Wednesday when he visited the scene of the accident.
He said highway lawlessness, which is rampant across Nigeria, is more pronounced in Ogun State because of the high number of highways in the state. He said the state would look into how the Federal Highway Code would criminalise traffic offenses.
Mr. Amosun said the problem primarily was not the law but its enforcement. He said government would continue to empower traffic and security agencies for optimal performance.
“We feel this lawlessness every day,” he said. “A sane mind does not need to be told to desist from driving against traffic. We need the capacity to address this menace. We will look into the Federal Highway Code and domesticate it. We will even make it more potent and endeavour to criminalise traffic offense.”
While commiserating with the families of the deceased and the university community, Mr. Amosun advised OOU students to avoid taking laws into their hands, stating that government was making efforts to get the driver arrested.
In another development, the Ogun State Police Command has warned commuters who are fond of patronising roadside drivers and illegal motor parks and garages to desist in the interest of their lives.
Mr. Adejobi said this in a statement on Sunday.
“The police command has been able to deduce from its reports that there is a strong link between the commissioning of some of these crimes and the patronage of these unapproved parks, particularly, those individuals who are fond of getting “Free Ride” by the road side or looking for “Cheap Ride” along the road,” Mr. Adejobi said.
The statement revealed that the command had recently arrested and investigated some serial rapists, who have made it known to the police, of their gimmicks of picking people by the road side to rape and rob them of their belongings before dropping them off.
He said the suspects have been charged to court accordingly after the police had got credible and substantive evidence against them.
“The command therefore wishes to appeal to the general public to always patronize government approved parks and garages in all the zones of Ogun state such as Kuto parks in Abeokuta, Isale Oko park in Sagamu, Ibadan and Lagos parks in Ijebu, and other parks in Yewa and Awori zones of the state,” he said.