Abasi Ita, Calabar
Gory scenes, littered with splashes of blood with mangled flesh signaled the end of the Biker’s Carnival in Calabar when a motorist on high speed along the Bogobiri axis of Mary Slessor Avenue designated route veered off road, ramming into a crowd of spectators killing over 15 persons including a pregnant woman while scores sustained critical injuries
According to an eye witness, disaster struck shortly after the flagged off around 5:00 pm, at the Eleven Eleven Roundabout, almost three hours behind schedule when one of the participating motorists took off at terrible speed towards the first adjudicating point at Mary Slessor only to lost control of the vehicle and ramming into the spectators
It took the intervention of the Police to prevent a mob action by the angry crowd after counting dead bodies that littered the scene from the carnage
Summit Post gathered that ten were confirmed dead at the spot while five gave up on the way to hospitals as several of the injured were rushed to either the General and Navy Reference Hospitals
The Biker’s Carnival, featuring a mock car race spiced with mind boggling stunts by powered bike riders was introduced into the Calabar Carnival by Governor Ben Ayade to add spice and glamour to the Carnival globally acknowledged as Africa’s Largest Street Party.
However, the Calabar Carnival has suffered serious setbacks in terms of fundings, organisation and financial credibility while artists and participating bands are being owed appearance fees and honorarium since 2018.
The death toll is expected to rise given the life threatening injuries sustained by some of those on admission at the hospitals.
An official of the Federal Road Safety Commission who preferred anonymity blamed the incident on poor planning and blatant refusal to adhere to precautionary measures applicable to similar events globally
He opined that alcoholic test was not conducted on any participant while crowd control was terribly poor given the meagre number of security personnel detailed to cover the event
Confirming the incident, Sector Commander of the FRSC Cross River State , Maikano Hassan stated that the accident occurred when the driver of a Toyota Carmy Car lost control due to overspeeding.
Maikano said he was on his way to the hospital to ascertain the number of the injured and the extent of injuries.