PANTAMI Stadium in Gombe, venue of the National Unity Congress of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) was Saturday turned into a moody and mourning atmosphere following a ghastly auto accident involving the convoy of the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung claiming one life with several others seriously injured.
Youths from all States of the federation including Abuja had converged in Gombe State since Thursday for the national congress that was last held several years ago because of a lingering leadership tussle.
Reports have it that the accident occurred around 11:45 am Saturday at Akko village along Gombe-Bauchi high way while the Minister was heading into Gombe from the airport.
It was reported that 20 victims of the accident had various degrees of injuries with seven of them taken to the Federal Teaching Hospital, (FTH) Gombe while 13 were taken to the Gombe State Specialist Hospital for treatment depending on the degree of the injuries.
An eyewitness to the accident, Sunday Jika, while narrating how the incident happened said that a Peugeot 406 car driven in confusion due to the blaring of horns by the Minister’s convoy veered off the road and had a head-on collision with the Minister’s First Jeep before ramming into another bus in the convoy.
Sunday Jika also said that the Peugeot 406 was immediately gutted by fire while rescuers tried and secured the lives of three people at the spot but the driver, however, lost his life because he was said to be hooked with the steering wheel are the fire was intensive.
When our reporter visited the hospitals, the injured patients were on admission and receiving treatment with medical personnel trying their best to save their lives.
When contacted, Gombe state Command of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), said they were not aware of the accident as at the time of filing this report.
But a reliable source told our correspondent that Gombe State Commissioner of Police Mr Shina Tairu Olukolu had visited the hospital but declined to speak to pressmen.
However, a reliable source at the Federal Teaching Hospital said that the passengers in the 406 involved in the accident were delegates from Bauchi state.
As at the time of filing this report, Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo sent a condolence message to the delegates and announced that the State Government would shoulder the hospital bills of those still receiving treatment.
All efforts to get the official reaction of the Minister proved abortive as all those on the entourage contacted declined comments.
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