Bayelsa state has been thrown into mourning as 12 prominent women died in a ghastly auto crash near Old Ahoada Market on the Ahoada/Elele section of the East/West Road, Rivers State.
According to reports, they were on their way back to Yenagoa, the Bayelsa capital from the Port Harcourt International Airport where they had gone to see off Mrs Patience Jonathan,Wife of President Jonathan.The women,who are members of Mrs Jonathan’s female wing of the Peoples Democratic Party,PDP, known as Women For Change Initiatives had earlier visited Patience Jonathan in her country home of Okrika community in Rivers State.
Among the dead were former Members of the State House of Assembly and Commissioners from the state and the wife of the Secretary to the State Government, SSG.Some of the identified victims were a Former Member of the State House of Assembly from Brass Local Government and Special Adviser to Governor Seriake Dickson, Mrs.Ruby Benjamin,a Former Commissioner for Women Affairs under the administration of Gov. Timipre Sylva, Gimbra Panowei,the Wife of Prof. Edmond Oguru,the Secretary to the State Government,Mrs.Elizabeth Allison-Oguru and a Woman Leader from Otuoke Community in Ogbia local government,Madam Consider Amadi.
Also killed in the accident was the wife of the owner of a popular Montessori school known as Ayakpo International schools, Mrs. Inamamu Ayakpor. Mrs Ebisinte Ayabowei, a former Bayelsa State Commissioner survived in the accident. It was also a lucky escape for Former Commissioner for Transport, Mrs.Marie Ebikake, who was recently sacked by Governor Serieke Dickson’s administration for alleged disloyalty to his administration. She also visited Patience Jonathan in Okrika but reportedly drove back to Yenagoa in a separate vehicle.
According to the preliminary report from the men of the Federal Road Safety Corps(FRSC) issued by the Bayelsa state Commander, Vincent Jack, 29 passengers in three separate vehicles were involved in the accident, and 18 persons were reportedly injured, while 11 others were burnt beyond recognition.The three vehicle involved were identified as a Toyota Hiace Bus with registration number, GBB591FS,Toyota Siena with registration number, ABU640AE and Toyota Highlander Jeep with registration number, YEN 371RJ.
The FRSC who attributed the cause of the accident to tyre burst said:
”The injured were taken to Madonna Hospital in Elele by the Police who first came to the scene. The Corpse of one dead Woman was deposited at Oepdem Mortuary in Ahoada while police took another Corpse to Rumuji. Nine others were burnt beyond recognition”.The Bayelsa State Governor Henry Seriake Dickson in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Iwariso-Markson, expressed deep pains, shock and grief over the sudden death of the wife of Professor Edmond Allison-Oguru, the Secretary to the State Government and a group of prominent Bayelsa Women in a fatal road accident along the Ahoada/Elele section of the East/West Road in Rivers State.
Dickson described the incident as tragic, a monumental and painful loss to the State, stressing that, the women that, lost their lives in the accident were our mothers and sisters.Meanwhile, a Government House statement said all official engagements of the Governor have been suspended for three days as a mark of honour and respect for the souls of the departed women.