Nigeria: Carnival Calabar – Many Feared Dead As Car Crashes Into Crowd

Several persons have reportedly lost their lives and others injured when a driver rammed his car into a crowd marking Carnival Calabar 2022 which entered fifth day yesterday.

The incident occurred when a Camry car crashed into the spectators who were at the venue where the bikers’ segment of the carnival was being held in front of the Bogobiri Central Mosque, Calabar, the Cross River State capital.

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) sector commander, Mr. Mikano Hassan, who narrated the incident, said a driver of a Toyota Camry car lost control and rammed into a crowd of onlookers who were standing at Bogobiri.

Hassan who could not give the exact casualty figure and those who sustained injuries said the survivors were rushed to the hospital for medical attention.

He said, “I am on my way to the hospital to ascertain the figure of deaths and those injured. But I can confirm that the report is true and will get back to you as soon as I am able to establish the number of casualties.”

One of the residents of Bogobiri, Bashiru (surname withheld) said 15 people died while10 were injured.

Following the misfortune, the bikers’ parade was stopped and the spectators dispersed leaving Mary Slessor Avenue (one of the Bikers Carnival routes) deserted.

The accident occurred when top government functionaries had already taken their seats to be entertained by the bikers.

The fiesta was introduced into the state by former Governor Donald Duke until it was suspended for two years following the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic before Governor Ben Ayade announced that he would hold the ceremony this year.

Meanwhile, Ayade has expressed sadness over the unfortunate incident.

In a statement issued by Ayade’s special adviser on media/chief press secretary, Mr. Christian Ita, he said the governor was devastated by the accident.

Ita said the governor had directed security agencies to apprehend the motorist who is on the run.

Ayade sympathised with the victims of the accident and their families and ordered for an immediate investigation to unravel how the motorist was able to get through security barricades to have access to the routes which were closed to the traffic.

Ita said the governor directed the immediate discontinuation of the bikers; parade in honour of the victims of the accident.

Governor Ayade, while promising to ensure the culprit is arrested and brought to book, however, sued for calm.

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