No fewer than 15 persons died when a truck-load of customised bags of rice crushed two vehicles on Saturday night in a market in Iworoko, Irepodun/Ifelodun local government area of Ekiti State.
It was learnt the bags of rice bore the picture and name of a senator in a neighbouring state.
The truck also rammed into some shops in the market, turning the community into mourning with social and economic activities paralysed.
An eyewitness told our correspondent the truck suddenly lost control due to brake failure at about 8:45 pm on Saturday.
He added that the truck crushed three shops and a commercial small bus known locally as “Akoto” which had some passengers.
One of the shops, a barbing saloon, had residents and students charging their cell phones inside it.
The Nation gathered among the 15 victims were students of the Ekiti State University, a corps member, residents, traders in the market as well as a mother and child.
The strike action by the Academic Union of Universities (ASUU) was said to have prevented more casualties as with resident claiming the market where the truck ran into used to be densely populated with many students during academic session.
The Iworoko youths barricaded the dual carriageway that passes through the community.
An angry mob chased away a towing truck of the State Traffic Management Agency, saying that it had come too late to rescue the victims.
Addressing the chiefs and residents of the community, the Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, expressed shock at the incident describing it as “highly unfortunate.”
The Alaworoko, Oba Michael Aladejana, was not available at the palace during the deputy governor’s visit.
Chiefs in the community received him.
Egbeyemi appealed for calm, saying: “The state governor condoles with families of those who have lost their loved ones.
“We pray for their souls to rest in peace. Government will also ensure that those who were wounded have their hospital bills paid for. We will also take care of other things.
“However, we appeal to our youths to calm down and not cause trouble. No one wishes for this kind of tragedy to happen.
“And no amount of anger and violence will bring back those died in this unfortunate incident. So, let us be calm.”
The corpses of were deposited at Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH) morgue while survivors were receiving treatment at the same hospital.
Egbeyemi, who also visited the hospital along Adebayo area of the state capital, told the doctors to commence treatment of the casualties, assuring the bills would be paid by the state government.
A worker in the hospital, who craved anonymity, added four casualties of the accident are receiving treatment at the Accident and Emergency Unit of the hospital.
A huge crowd of mourning residents are still at the site of the crash at the time of filing this report.