It was a sad day for many residents of Damaturu, Yobe State capital, after a military truck driving at a high speed crushed a taxi tricycle killing two passengers on Sunday.
One of the victims was Hussaina Baffa-Bello, 19-year-old female student of Federal Polytechnic, Damaturu.
Witnesses said the armored gun truck driver did not obey the red traffic light when the Keke-Napep rider was crossing the highway.
“The army truck did not stop at the traffic light-controlled junction while the Keke-Napep rider who had a right of way was crossing, and that was how the truck ran over them,” said a witness who identified himself as Muhammed.
Multiple residents told PREMIUM TIMES in Damaturu that since the installation of the traffic lights last year, most military and police vehicles usually disobey them.
“Even if they met other civilian vehicle waiting and obeying the traffic light, they would be blaring their horns and causing confusion,” said Bashir Sani, a civil servant said.
The Sunday crash occurred at a spot called Gwange Junction along Damaturu-Gashua Road.
Witnesses said the Keke-Napep, coming from the Gwange axis, was attempting to cross over to use the right lane of the highway going to the city center, while the truck which was coming from an opposite left lane caught the Keke-Napep midway.
The ghastly crash generated angry reactions from residents of Damaturu.
The executive director of the umbrella Civil Society Organisations in Yobe State, Abubakar Shehu, said the CSO will make an official statement in due course.
Yobe Government responds
Amidst rising anger over the sad incident, the state governor visited the scene of the accident and went to condole the bereaved families of the victims.
Though the military has not issued any statement to that effect, a statement issued by the governor’s spokesman, Abdullah Bego, indicated that top officers of the military command in Damaturu had gone to commiserate with the families of the victims.
Mr. Bego said, “Governor Mai Mala Buni has been briefed about an incident in Damaturu yesterday in which a KEKE NAPEP rider with passengers was crushed by a military vehicle in an accident which claimed the lives of two persons.”
“Already, the Brigade Commander 27 Task Force Brigade, the Commanding Officer 233 Tank Battalion and officials of the State Government have visited and commiserated with the families of the victims,” the statement said.
“His Excellency has learned that one of the victims, Hussaina Baffa Bello was a pre-ND student of the Federal polytechnic Damaturu while the other fatality was a toddler.
“Governor Buni’s thoughts, sympathies, and prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives and with the victims who sustained injuries.
“The governor prays Almighty Allah (SWT) to grant repose to the souls of those who died, fast recovery to those who sustained injuries and fortitude to bear the loss for families of the victims.”
Mr. Bego said the governor had directed the office of the acting Secretary to the State Government to liaise with the military in order “to have a full investigation and ascertain how the accident happened and how much could be avoided in the future.”