Tragedy struck late evening of Wednesday as four administrative staff of the Akwa Ibom State-owned Newspapers Corporation, ‘The Pioneer’ lost their lives in a ghastly auto accident while returning from a traditional marriage of staff of the organisation in Ekpene Ukim, Uruan local government area of the state.
It was gathered that the tragic incident occurred along Airport Road, Uyo as the driver of the staff 18-seater Bus lost control and the bus summersaulted at a U-turn.
According to eyewitnesses, the driver and many others who sustained injuries were immediately rushed to the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, UUTH, General Hospital, Ituk Mbang, in Uruan LG, and Ibom Specialist Hospital depending on the degrees of the injuries.
Speaking with Vanguard Thursday morning the State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Akwa Ibom state Council, Mr. Amos Etuk described the incident as sad and unfortunate.
Etuk assured that the leadership of the Union would be visiting the hospitals to ascertain how the survivors are responding to treatment.
He said, “No journalist died in the accident. The four who lost their lives were administrative staff. It was unfortunate incident. I and other leaders of the State Council were at the scene of the incident last night. Also the Commissioner for Information, Secretary to State Government, SSG, were also at the scene.
“We were there till 10pm to ensure that all the bodies were evacuated and survivors rushed to the hospitals. The driver was rushed to Ibom Specialist Hospital. We, are going to visit the hospital today (Thursday) to see how the survivors are faring”
A survivor and a reporter who did not sustain serious injury, Mrs. Bassey Nkponam while narrating her experience, said she could not thank God enough for saving her life.
Nkponam who was still in shock over those that lost their lives managed to say that sustained little injuries on her legs while jumping out from window of the bus.
“Yes it is true that four people died on the spot and as I speak to you I don’t know the condition of those that sustained serious injuries. I jumped out through the bus window and that was how I got injury on my legs from broken glasses” she simply said.
Meanwhile in a statement issued by the press week committee of the state Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists Wednesday night and obtained by Vanguard yesterday indicates the postponement of Thursday activities till next Monday.
It reads, “In view of the tragic incident that occurred this evening involving some members of staff of Pioneer Newspapers, the leadership of the NUJ has advised that the novelty match that was scheduled to take place tomorrow Thursday, 12th December at the NUJ Press Center be postponed.
“Accordingly, the match will now take place on Monday, 16th December, 2019”