…Two Rev Sisters, husband and wife, others roasted to death
Five persons were burnt beyond recognition when two vehicles, a Toyota Highlander with registration number: BMR570BE and a Toyota Hiace Bus with no registration number, collided and caught fire around Nawfia, Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State axis of Awka-Enugu Expressway, yesterday.
Those that lost their lives in the autocrash were identified as Principal of Handmaids Secondary School, Amansea, Awka North Local Government Area, Rev. Sister Virginia Obike, her bursar, Rev Sister Monica Ilem and their driver, Mr. Chamberlain Umunnakwe, who were all returning to Amansea in the ill-fated Toyota Hiace bus from Ifite Ogwari, Ayemelum Local Government Area, where they went to buy rice for the school.
Others that burnt to ashes after the two cars collided were identified as a former storekeeper in the employment of the state government, Mr. Emmanuel Okeke and his wife.
A relation of the couple who gave their town as Nsugbe, Anambra East Local Government Area, Mr. Ifeanacho Okeke said his late brother and his wife left their home on Tuesday, around 5pm but by 9pm, their phone sets became unreachable till yesterday morning. He said that the family’s suspense over their inability to reach the couple on phone led to frantic search through which they were found dead on the scene of the crash.
An eyewitness, who gave his name as Chinecherem Okonkwo from Nawfia, said he arrived the scene of the accident while the vehicles were still burning but it was too late for him to render any meaningful help.
Another eyewitness, who refused to be named, said the bus driver, who was on top speed, lost control and rammed into the Highlander from behind, crashing noisily before both vehicles caught fire and burnt completely.
News of the carnage drew hordes of sympathisers, mainly reverend fathers and reverend sisters, who thronged the scene to see the accident firsthand. While some helped in removing the charred vehicles from the single-lane expressway, others were discussing the incident in low tones.
Commenting on the disaster, Anambra State Sector Commander of Federal Roads Safety Corps (FRSC), Adeoye Irelewuyi, commiserated with the families of the dead victims.
According to him, motorists should avoid overspeeding and ensure they abide by recommended national speed limit.
“Speed drills, but kills, check your speed and not your watch. Let us keep our road safe from a crash,” he warned.
Speaking on the accident, Education Secretary, Awka Region, Catholic Diocese of Awka, Rev Father Roland Victor Okoli said it was a tragic accident and a great loss to the education family in Awka region and Awka Catholic Diocese as a whole. Sister Virgy Obike has excelled in that school. It was so shocking to us to have lost her. The school bursar and driver were also involved in the accident. What a loss!
She died in active service to God and humanity’s. I was at the scene of the accident. They were conveying bags of rice to the school from the market which shows it was for the welfare of the students when their bus got involved in a head on collision with another bus. So pathetic that she died in such a manner. Their corpses have been deposited in a morgue.
The school is reputable and has been excelling in many areas. When you see the kind of development going on in the school, you will see it is a school that has been prudently managing its affairs and resources.
The school, in a short while, has grown tremendously.The physical structures and human resources tell it all. Academically, morally and spiritually, they score high. Sis Virgy has been instrumental in pushing the school to the enviable position it occupies.
We console the families of Sis Virgy, the bursar, the driver, the congregation of the Handmaids of God sisters, the school, and the victims of the other vehicle involved in the accident.