…Traffic held for hours as commuters protest against presence of security men

From Okey Sampson, Umuahia

Scores of passengers were feared dead at a security checkpoint at the Lokpanta axis of the Enugu Port Harcourt Expressway on Thursday morning.

It was gathered that an 18-seater bus was on the queue at the checkpoint waiting to be cleared by security men at the checkpoint, when a trailer said to have lost control, rammed into it, killing some of the passengers and injuring others.

An eye witness account has it that angered by the action of the security agents which was said to have caused the accident, drivers and commuters came out from their vehicles and blocked the Expressway in protest.

The protesters insisted that they would not leave the road until the security operatives that mounted the roadblock were produced.

The action held traffic for hours, preventing vehicles from going to Enugu, Umuahia or Aba and other adjourning cities.

Meanwhile, Gov. Alex Otti has ordered an investigation into the tragedy to find out if there were any professional misconduct.

Speaking through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ferdinand Ekeoma, Otti said that anyone found culpable will not be allowed to go scott free.

Otti said Government”s immediate concern was how to save the lives of the injured passengers and clear the highway for free flow of traffic.

“Our interest as a government is to ensure that those who were injured are properly taken care of.”

The Governor disclosed that the casualty figure was three as at the time he spoke with the relevant authorities.

He assured that efforts were on to clear the road and restore order at the scene.

“I was told that the Mayor of Umunneochi has brought in crane to remove the trailer and that the road which was completely blocked has been cleared for easy movement of vehicles”.

Efforts to get a reaction from the police were unsuccessful as at the time of filing the report.