Members of the National Union of Teachers in Oyo State are mourning the death of three principals and an accountant in the state public secondary schools in a road crash.
No fewer than seven persons, who suffered varying degrees of injury, have also been hospitalised.
The Punch gathered that the victims were involved in the accident along the Oyo-Ogbomosho road around 5pm on Wednesday.
They were said to have attended a seminar organised by the state government in Oyo town and were returning to their respective destinations in Ogbomoso when a tanker rammed into a bus they were in.
It was learnt that the tanker driver veered onto the bus lane in an attempt to dodge a pothole but crashed into the bus.
The three principals, an account clerk, and the bus driver, whose identities had yet to be ascertained, died on the spot, while seven others who were injured, were rushed to the Bowen University Teaching Hospital, Ogbomoso.
“Five persons, including three principals, an account clerk in one of the public secondary schools and the bus driver, died in the accident.
“I learnt that one of the deceased principals, Mr. Ogunremi, was supposed to retire in a few weeks’ time. They were returning from a workshop in Oyo town,” a source said.
The Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress in the state, Waheed Olojede, who is also the secretary of the state chapter of the National Union of Teachers, confirmed the fatalities, adding that five others were critically injured.
He blamed the Oyo State Ministry of Education for directing 340 participants from schools in Ogbomoso to travel to Oyo town for the workshop, saying a centre should have been created in Ogbomoso considering the large number.
He said, “The entire labour movement under the aegis of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and Joint Negotiating Council, led by Emmanuel Ogundiran and me, have visited the injured victims and families of the deceased.
“The NUT in the state received the news with rude shock. The NUT and labour movement are worried and disturbed about the wrong decision taken by the education ministry to compel 340 participants from 85 secondary schools in Ogbomoso to attend a workshop in Oyo town when simple reason and logic is supposed to have guided the ministry’s decision to create a centre in Ogbomoso for the workshop while the facilitators move there.
“Labour advises that the ministry and other government agencies should always consider the number of participants as a key factor in determining the venue for future workshops.”
The Oyo State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Prof Adeniyi Olowofela, told Punch that he led a delegation to the Bowen University Teaching Hospital and families of the victims as directed by the state Governor, Abiola Ajimobi.
“We are just coming back from Ogbomoso. The governor directed that I should lead a delegation that included the chairman of the state Teaching Service Commission to commiserate with the families of the victims. The state government regrets this unfortunate incident and will defray the hospital bills of those who are still receiving treatment,” he said.
The Oyo State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Cecilia Alao, confirmed the crash in a text message.
She stated that the accident resulted from dangerous overtaking and urged motorists to be safety conscious and comply with traffic regulations at all times.