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Professor, 5 others die in Abakaliki road crashes

The Dean, School of Basic Medical Sciences at the Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi State, Prof. Robert Nneli is dead. He died in one of the two accidents recorded on Thursday night at the notorious 131 junction of the Abakaliki-Enugu federal highway, where five others also lost their lives.

Nneli, 69 years old, joined the University in 2012 after spending close to 20 years at the Abia State University.

Mrs Stella Uchendu, Sector Commander of the FRSC in Ebonyi State confirmed the two accidents. She said both accidents occurred between 9 and 11pm.

According to her, it was raining heavily when the accidents occurred and attributed them to possible reckless driving, over-speeding and poor visibility.

“In the first accident, the articulated vehicle’s driver blinded the driver of the white-coloured Toyota Camry vehicle with his headlight, which made him lose control as he was on top speed.

“The vehicle then veered off its lane and collided with the on-coming articulated vehicle. The truck crushed the car.

“The professor died in the accident even as his son and another occupant sustained serious injuries and are receiving treatment at the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki.”

According to Uchendu, the second accident involved an SUV with five occupants, which also crashed into a stationary articulated vehicle due to over speeding and poor visibility.

“When we concluded our evacuation, the policemen on duty told us that they would tow the articulated vehicle off the road but they never did.

“The SUV apparently crashed into the articulated vehicle as all its five occupants died and their corpses evacuated to the Federal Teaching hospital Abakaliki,” she said.

She commended her officers for their prompt response to the crashes and urged motorists to always obey traffic regulations.

“Motorists should ensure that when they are confronted with headlights from oncoming vehicles, they should reduce their speed and keep to their right side.

“Motorists should also avoid night travels, driving under the rain and ensure they obey road regulations to save lives,”

DSP Jude Madu, the Ebonyi Police Command’s Public Relations Officer (PPRO) absolved his men of any complicity by failing to tow the articulated vehicle.

He blamed the FRSC for failing in its duty. “No police officer would reject an offer of assistance to tow vehicles off the road, in order to save lives as my officers stayed on the road till day break to enforce law and order.

“They even signaled to approaching cars to divert to the other lane of the road but most drivers including that of the SUV, failed to heed the diversion signals,” he said.

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