BEATRICE GONDYI who visited and spoke with the bereaved family of victims of Bauchi-Gombe tragic road accident reports
If human had the mirror of premonition to see through the future for the next phase in life, many would have had cause to manoeuvre their misfortune, evade a perceived natural disaster or find the means to cheat death. Unfortunately, life does not offer such lifelines; when death comes, it takes its victim at will and unannounced, even in the most gruesome manner.
This was the fate of Jamal Ahmed Yari (42) who if told by anyone that his life would be cut short, would not have believed. If he knew his life and that of his family would end abruptly, he would have had no cause to embark on that ill-fated journey.
His story again brought memories of how former minister of state for Labour, Chief James Ocholi (SAN), his wife and son died in a fatal auto crash along Abuja-Kaduna highway.
Jamal had prepared like every other person and had made plans to return home with his family after a trip to Gombe but this was not to be as fate had other plans in stock for him and his family.
Jamal, his wife Hajiya Amina (22) his two children, Adnan (4) and his 19-month-old sister, Alfan, perished in a ghastly accident that occurred along Bauchi-Gombe road while they were coming back to Bauchi from Gombe. LEADERSHIP Weekend learnt that late Amina was also four months pregnant when she died.
A visit to the scene of the incident was that of a gory sight that will ordinary remind anyone that death is but unfair to man in most cases.
The vehicles were involved in a head-on collision, said Mr Kamal Abubakar, spokesperson of Bauchi State Police Command.
The command said the accident involved a busload of 13 passengers and a Toyota Camry with six passengers, who were immediately moved from the scene of the accident by security agents with the assistance of some good Samaritans to the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital for treatment.
However, on getting to the hospital, 13 of the passengers were confirmed dead while six others survived and are still on admission. Among those who lost their lives, were Jamal, his family and his sister.
Jamal had in the previous day told his brother and other family members of his plans to return home, exchanged jokes with his younger brother and
His brother, Abdulwahid Ahmad Bawa Yari, told WEEKEND Leadership of his relationship with Jamal. He said destiny had dealt their family a devastating blow and the vacuum would be difficult to fill. He narrated how his late brother was very close to him as he was the last person he called before his untimely death.
“The late Jamal was my senior brother, his wife Amina and his children Adnan and Afan were very close to me. God has taken them; it is a lesson for us that every living thing belongs to God. Afan was one year seven months but God took him, so God can take anyone at any time.
“I was the last person to talk to him. Our rooms are adjacent to each other. My wife is always at his place. Our wives are so close that they go out together.”
How my wife escaped death
‘‘That fateful journey, they wanted my wife to go with them. I said no. They left for Gombe, I left for Kano. On Wednesday, his wife and Afan left while he left with Adnan after taking permission from the school. He bid farewell to everyone and he left. I got to Kano and was down with malaria and they called and were teasing me if I would live, God in his wisdom left me. I am here and they that were healthy are gone. I wanted coming back that Saturday evening but my mum insisted I left it till the next day.
‘‘On Sunday morning I called him and told him to give the children the phone for us to talk. We cracked jokes and later he called again to ask if I reached Bauchi. It was precisely around 12:16 pm. When I got home about 1:06 pm, a man named Yusuf Bello, an immigration officer, called me and my wife picked the call and was told the owner of this phone had died and my number was the last one that was called.
‘‘She brought it for me crying and told me what happened I scolded her and told her April was around the corner, she should not allow anyone make a fool of her. He called and confirmed what my wife said. I now organised family and we went to the scene. I carried Afan and Adnan and placed them on my chest and prayed for them.
‘‘This is one of the saddest and trying moments of my life. I didn’t believe I will reach the scene of the accident. I kept hoping I will meet little Afan alive but God knows best. I know this is a trial from God and I pray we overcome.
For his brother Salihu Ahmed Bawa, who visited the scene of the accident, his death was a heavy burden to bear.
He said on Sunday at about a few minutes after 1pm in the afternoon, the first eyewitness who saw what happened was traveling from Bauchi and he saw a Sharon bus speeding.
He said he ‘‘was asking the person he was with where was this man speeding to. But before he finished his sentence he saw a car on top of his car, a black Toyota Camry and when he got there my brother Jamal was already dead.
He tried ‘‘getting help because he didn’t want the car to catch the fire but didn’t get the help until a trailer came and he begged the driver to help and as the pulled my brother, they saw the children too who were already dead.
‘‘My sister-in-law’s finger was moving but before he could bring them out she gave up the ghost. His junior sister Zara’u too died. It was only Nana his sister that survived the ghastly accident; she is in the hospital receiving treatment. But her situation is critical because even the IV line for drip is on her toes. It was a head-on collision. He was overtaken possibly by the Sharon bus driver, he told LEADERSHIP Weekend.
“I was with my wife in a store when she had a call from one of my brothers’ wives, Fauziyya. She was shocked and started screaming and explained to me. I shouted at her and told her it was a lie and sent her out of the store. I now called my brother and he confirmed. I got to our family house and I met my brothers with one of our uncles who is our father since the demise of our father nine months back.
‘‘They have just received the information just as I received. We now went to Bishi, the scene of the accident. We were able to pack some things but the car was damaged beyond repair,” he told LEADERSHIP Weekend.
Abdulwahid commended men of the Federal Road Safety Corps FRSC for the role they played after the accident.
“We are grateful to the FRSC for doing their job. They were on hand to render assistance. I will say both of them were at fault because they were driving on high speed. To know what truly transpired, only God can judge that.”
LEADERSHIP Weekend recalled that the Royal House, ‘Yarin Bauchi’ in Bauchi State was last Sunday thrown into mourning when a member of their family, Jamal Yari, his wife, two children and a younger sister were killed in a car accident that claimed 13 lives along Bauchi-Gombe road.
Confirming the accident, the Police Public Relations Officer, kamal Datti Abubakar, said it “occurred when the two vehicles were coming towards opposite direction and on reaching a point along the road, they had a head-on collision. As a result, all the 19 passengers from the two vehicles were affected.
He said, “With a heavy heart, the Bauchi State Police Command regret to inform the general public that, there was a fatal motor vehicles accident today, Sunday 31/03/2019 at about 1430hrs along Bauchi – Gombe road involving two vehicles, a Sharon bus loaded with 13 passengers and aToyota Camry loaded with six (6) passengers”.
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