A female official (names withheld) of Imo State Command of the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, was, at the weekend, crushed by a tipper lorry, just as Governor Rochas Okorocha expressed deep shock over the tragedy that befell Umudagu, Ihitte Isi Mbieri community in Mbaitoli local council area, on Thursday night.
The Mbieri tragedy followed a torrential rain that was accompanied by thunder, lightening and a ferocious windstorm, which pulled down a huge tree known as Osisi Ukwu Uko and claimed lives.
Okorocha described the incident as “a very sad natural disaster” and wondered why some elders in the community resisted previous efforts made by some people to cut down the tree before it claimed scores of precious lives. “This is a very sad natural disaster. I wonder why some elders in the community resisted earlier moves by some people to cut down the tree before it claimed lives and brought untold anguish to many families”, the governor said.
He appealed to people to resist the temptation of dwelling on superstitious beliefs, especially as such negates what he called “sound sense of reasoning”.
Okorocha directed other communities with similar trees to cut them down immediately to avoid a repeat of the sad incident. In the interim, the governor directed the Mayor of Owerri, Dr. Kachi Nwoga, to make available to his office information in respect of the victims of the disaster. “Government has plans to give succour to the immediate families that lost their loved ones in the unfortunate disaster”, he said.
Meanwhile, Okorocha has visited the scene of the disaster and directed relevant government agencies to continue the rescue operation, as well as clear the debris.
The FRSC official who was crushed by the tipper lorry with registration number AE 285 ABN, on Friday, was said to be trying to cross the ever busy Owerri-Umuahia federal highway. The incident occurred at the roundabout close to Imo State headquarters of the FRSC Sector Command, Egbu.
Shocked FRSC personnel declined to speak to Sunday Vanguard on the death and referred our correspondent to the Sector Commander, who was said to be unavailable.