As it is pertinent for people to move from one place to another for business or other purposes, road transport has become the most used form of transportation in Nigeria especially for the average and the poor as it is easily accessible and affordable. This has prompted transport companies to evolve in various ways to ensure safety and security of passengers and one of such evolutions is the usage of “Manifest” to collect passenger`s data especially that of the next of kin in other to contact family members in case of an accident.
Peace Mass Transit Ltd (PMT), a popular transport company plying various routes in Nigeria, however, appears to collect these data for formality as evident in a recent accident involving the transport company which lead to loss of many lives as they neither contacted family members nor the police after the accident, rather they resorted to secretly bury the dead passengers in a bid to avoid public scrutiny.
A video obtained by this online news medium reveals that a minibus belonging to this callous transport company whose drivers perhaps mount their car steering after playing the game “Need For Speed” was recently involved in a headlong collision with a Peugeot car at Itobe along the Lokoja/Abuja highway on the 16th of August 2018 with the minibus bursting into flames due to a gas flare with various body parts of its passengers scattered all over the road.
SecretReporters gathered that prior to the accident, a sister to one of the victims who was on board the ill-fated minibus about two hours before the fatal accident received a call in which her sister informed her that they were around Abuja and were en route to their final destination, little did she know that it was going to be the last time she will ever hear from her. After waiting and calling her sister`s number multiple times without response, she proceeded the next day to PMT park in Abuja to inquire about her sister’s whereabouts.
After tossing her to and fro, the officials of Peace Mass Transit showing no atom of remorse or empathy refused to disclose anything about the incident. However, the victim’s family later discovered that their beloved sister has been transported to the great beyond along with other passengers on board. Worst still was that in what appeared to be a secret deal between the Death Mass Transit and officers of the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC) who were the first respondents to the scene of the accident, the victim and every other passenger on board were secretly buried without contacting their next of kin recorded in the manifest or the Nigerian Police.
When the FRSC was asked about their involvement in the whole charade, they alleged that they buried the passengers following an order given to them by the operators of Peace Mass Transit Ltd who were trying to save their corporate image to the detriment of the victims’ families.
The transport company, who confirmed the accident and the burial of the passengers, denied giving any order to the Road Safety Marshals to bury the passengers alleging that the Road Safety Officers solely acted in what they thought was best for the passengers considering the state of their remains and the religion of the people in the area where the accident occurred.
Also, it will be recalled that in a similar incident which occurred on July 22, 2011, the life of a vibrate 30-year-old graduate, Dennis Onuigbo, a graduate from the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) Enugu who was then an NYSC member was lost.
Mr Onuigbo who graduated in 2009 from the Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu was travelling from Makurdi to Enugu on a Peace Mass Transit Bus that day when the accident occurred. SecretReporters learnt that PMT in what appears to be their usual practice never informed his family about the incident. Rather a stranger who saw Dennis Onuigbo’s phone at the spot of the accident called to inform his in-law (Sister’s husband) who was on the deceased’s call record having spoken with him earlier that day.
“The management of PMT refused to talk to us when we approached them asking for information. They colluded with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) people and both parties refused to cooperate with us, leaving us searching mortuaries across 9th Mile and other nearby places in Enugu until we found his body and buried him. After that, we made several efforts to reach out to PMT management but it failed. No condolences, no compensation, no word whatsoever till now, seven years later. “ -Mr Clifford Ibeagwu.
It is no doubt that the action of the duo to secretly bury dead passengers without informing the police or their families especially in the incident earlier stated was all in a bid to avoid a negative impact on their corporate image, an action that backfired on the nefarious transport company which over the years have been involved in similar incidents especially during ember months.