Ondo Inferno: Residents protest government insensitivity

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Barely 12 hours after five people were killed in a fatal accident at the Shagari Junction on the Akure-Owo Expressway, Akure, Ondo State, residents of the area have taken to the streets to protest against the attitude of the government to incessant accidents at the junction.

A tanker carrying 33,000 litres of diesel had fallen on the road and caught fire on Wednesday.

No fewer than five people, including a toddler, were reportedly burnt to death, while two houses and many shops and vehicles were razed.

The residents, who barricaded the highway thereby causing traffic for several hours, lamented that both the Federal and state governments had failed to put measures in place to stop recurring accidents on the road.

The protesters said the accidents that often occurred on the highway were avoidable if the government was sensitive to the complaints of the people living in the area.

They vowed not to leave the road until the state Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, or representatives of President Muhammadu Buhari addressed them.

The group sang different solidarity songs on the road as they also asked the government to either erect speed breakers at the junction or build a flyover, adding that the government could also expand the road.

The protest grounded vehicular movement, as people travelling to Lagos and the northern part of the country were forced to take alternative routes to their destinations.

One of the protesters, who identified himself only as Daniel, said the government was not showing any concern about the welfare of the people of the area.

He said, "We have to stage this protest because if we don't, our government will not know what we are facing in this area. Many lives have been lost on this road. My father died at this junction. Many other people have gone to their early graves as a result of the accident at this junction. So, we are calling on the government to either erect bumps or expand the expressway to prevent the frequent accidents."

The Ondo State Deputy Governor, Mr Agboola Ajayi, who visited the scene of the accident, appealed to the protesters to be patient with the government.

He promised that the government would find a solution to the problem, adding that the state government was committed to the welfare of the people of the state.

"We will erect bumps on the expressway within two weeks," Ajayi said.

The deputy governor, who also promised that the state government would assist victims of the accident, said some government representatives would soon visit the injured at the hospital.

Similarly, the Senator representing the Ondo Central Senatorial District, Tayo Alasoadura, who also visited the scene, promised to assist the victims with N2m.

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