NINE persons were confirmed dead and 47 others injured yesterday as vehicles crashed into religious processions in Gombe and Adamawa states.
In Gombe, an operative of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) rammed his car into a procession of Christian youths on Sunday night, killing no fewer than eight of them and injuring 30.
A commercial bus driver crashed into worshippers on their way to “Galilee”. Seventeen of them were injured.
The youths, who were celebrating Easter, ran after the killer-NSCDC man and another occupant of his car. They were allegedly lynched.
A News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) report said the incident happened in Alheri junction, Biu Road, Gombe State.
The NSCDC official and his passenger, identified as a police officer, died from the beating.
The chairman of the Gombe State Battalion Brigade of the Boys Brigade, Isaac Kwadang, told reporters that he received information about the incident around 11:30 p.m. on Sunday.
He said: “The NSCDC officer, though not on official duty, met the procession, exchanged words with the youth, and drove past them. He allegedly switched off his car’s full lights, reversed the vehicle and rammed into the procession killing eight people on the spot.”
Many of the victims were members of the Boys Brigade.
Kwadang confirmed that the aggrieved youths chased the security officers, caught up with them and mobbed them to death.
According to him, the youths were still being prevailed upon not to let peace reign.
The Chief Medical Director of the Gombe State Specialist Hospital, Shuaibu Muazu, confirmed that some dead bodies were deposited in their facility.
The Sector Commander of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Godwin Omuko, confirmed the incident to reporters.
He said his men were among those who evacuated the bodies to the hospital.
Elsewhere in Adamawa State, a commercial bus ran into worshippers yesterday. Seventeen people were injured.
The bus ran into the worshippers in the Numan Local Government Area while celebrating the Easter Monday.
The injured, many of them with bone fractures, were admitted into hospitals around Numan.
Witnesses said the accident happened around 10am. They said the bus had been impounded and the driver arrested.
One of the witnesses, Stanley Jaule, said the affected worshippers were marching towards a mountain which the locals call Galilee when the bus crashed into their procession from the rear.
“While they were in Easter procession, a passenger bus just came from behind them and injured so many people, mostly women and children,” Jaule said.
Reacting to the crash in Gombe, Acting Inspector-General IG Mohammed Adamu ordered a speedy and comprehensive investigation into the incident.
A statement by Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), said the accident occurred on Gombe-Biu Road.
The statement reads: “Eye-witness accounts reveal that the accident occurred as a result of loss of control of the vehicle by the driver while driving along Gadan Malale and heading towards central roundabout, and on reaching a point at Unguwan Waja, rammed into a procession of crowd, evidently celebrating Easter.
“With assistance of the policemen from Gombe Division, the victims were immediately rushed to Gombe Specialist Hospital where the driver one Corp Assistant Adamu Abdullahi, a staff of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) attached to Government House, Gombe and 10 others were confirmed dead and their bodies deposited at the morgue while thirty (30) other persons injured are currently receiving treatment.
“The Gombe Commissioner of Police visited the scene of the accident to have an on-the-spot assessment as well as the hospital to monitor the treatment of the victims.
“The IGP, while condoling with the families and friends of the dead and the injured victim, has advised motorists to exercise utmost caution by obeying all traffic signs, rules and regulations while driving especially this festive period and beyond.”
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