By Frank Ulom
Tragedy struck Carnival Calabar for the first time since its inception in 2004 as a pregnant woman and no less than 7 other persons were crushed to death by a reckless driver during the Carnival Calabar in Calabar, Cross River State.
CONVERSEER reports that the ugly incident happened on December 27, during the Biker’s Parade of the Carnival Calabar along Mary Slessor by Bogobiri, one of the major Carnival routes.
The cause of the accident could not be ascertained at the time of filing this report but eyewitnesses said a Toyota Camry with registration number “Cross River – DUK 505 PE” lost control and ran into a crowd of spectators watching the Biker’s Carnival.
One of the eyewitnesses who spoke under anonymity said no fewer than 30 persons were affected by the auto crash. “Many of them have been rushed to the nearby General Hospital along Mary Slessor while others have been taken to the Nigerian Navy Reference Hospital by Murtala Mohammed Highway.
“I don’t know what happened but the driver was at high speed when he lost control and swerved into a crowd of people watching the Biker’s Carnival. The driver, while seeing the ugly incident took to his heels. It was very tragic. I don’t think he is even part of the Carnival team as there was no sticker (Vehicle Pass) on his vehicle”, the eyewitness said.
When contacted, Mikano Hassan, Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Cross River confirmed the accident.
Hassan who said he was on his way to the hospital to ascertain the figure of death and those injured, noted “It is true, there was an incident along Mary Slessor opposite the Mosque at Bogobiri. I am on my way to the hospital to ascertain the number of casualties and those who have died”.
At the time of filing this report, security agencies have arrived the scene to bring calm to the area as the dead bodies were being evacuated and taken to the mortuary.
Many are calling for the cancellation of the Carnival Calabar proper which will be taking place tomorrow, December 28, 2022. Meanwhile, this night, Miss Africa Calabar beauty pageantry will be taking place at the Calabar International Conference Centre (CICC), Summit Hills, Calabar.
This is the first time in 2 years that the Carnival Calabar is being held following the pandemic in 2020.