The bubbling festive mood at the venue of the National Unity Congress of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) at the Pantami Stadium in Gombe, was Saturday afternoon turned to that of mourning when news of a fatal car accident involving the entourage of the Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung, filtered into the air.
Youths from all States of the federation including Abuja have been in Gombe State since Thursday for the national congress that was last held several years ago because of a lingering leadership tussle.
The accident which claimed the life of one person occurred around 11:45 am at Akko village along Gombe Bauchi high way.
20 others sustained various degrees of injuries. Seven of the victims were taken to the Federal Teaching Hospital Gombe while 13 were taken to the Gombe State Specialist Hospital for treatment.
An eye witness, Sunday Jika, while narrating how the incident happened said a Peugeot 406 car in confusion veered off the road and had a head-on collision with the Minister’s First Jeep then hit another bus in the Minister’s convoy.
Sunday Jika, also said the Peugeot 406 immediately burst into flames. Rescuers saved the lives of three people from the burning car but the driver lost his life. The occupants of the bus were also rescued though several were injured.
When our reporter visited the hospital, the injured persons were on admission and receiving treatment.
When contacted, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Gombe state command said they were not aware of the accident as at that time.
The State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Shina Tairu Olukolu, had, however, visited the hospital but could not speak to pressmen.
A source at the Federal Teaching Hospital said the passengers in the 406 that was involved in the accident were delegates from Bauchi.
As at the time of filing this report, Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo of Gombe State had sent a condolence message to the delegates and announced that the State Government would shoulder the hospital bills of those still receiving treatment.