Twenty-five soldiers have been hospitalised after a military truck conveying them crashed into a sienna bus at the Beebosco bus stop along the Murtala Mohammed Highway in Calabar, Cross River State capital.
The accident occurred on Friday evening after the truck left the 34 Nigerian Arny Brigade headquarters in Calabar.
The truck was said to be heading to the Brigadier Ally Army Cantonment in Ogoja with a unit of troops headed by a major for operations duty in the northern part of the state.
Four of the soldiers were said to be in critical conditions while 21 others including five females sustained various degrees of injuries ranging from eye burst, some fractured arms and legs.
A source said the truck driver was driving under the influence of alcohol, Vanguard reports.
The eyewitness said the alcohol is what caused the driver to overspeed while stating that at the Beebosco bus stop, the driver stumbled on a line of cars, which had built up at a recently erected speed breaker.
He suddenly applied breaks causing the truck to swerve to the right and crashed into a stationary sienna parked at a car stand for sale.
“The sienna was a saving grace otherwise the bus would have ended inside the drain which takes water into the Beebosco water channel and that would have been a major tragedy” Emmanuel Ekpeta, a car dealer stated.
He said the ground was slippery following a down pour in the city which made the truck driver not to see far and ought to have been more careful.
“The soldiers who crashed into the gutter are the ones most affected because they suffered broken skulls and foreheads. They were taken out of the drain unconscious drenched in blood” the eye witness said.
Mr John Eluu, the owner of the sienna bus flattened by the truck said he kept the car for sale and appealed that the military authorities should assist by replacing the bus.
“I brought it to this car stand some days ago for sale and this is my source of livelihood. The army should please help me by replacing my bus because as you can see, the vehicle is completely destroyed”
The head of the emergency unit of the Nigerian Navy Reference Hospital where the wounded soldiers were rushed to, Dr Oyi, said twenty five soldiers were taken there but two were later taken to the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH, while twenty three are undergoing various treatments there.
The Vanguard reports that Captain H I Audu, who spoke at the Nigerian Navy Hospital said “it was an accident and our major concern now is how to safe the lives of our soldiers.”