Ugwu Onyeama army base not cause of Enugu-Onitsha Expressway accident – 82 Division

The 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Enugu on Thursday debunked reports that its internal security Forward Operating Base (FOB) at Ugwu-Onyeama was the cause of a recent Enugu-Onitsha Highway accident that claimed four lives.

It could be recalled that the accident that involved seven vehicles was caused by brake failure of a kerosene-ladened trailer coming down a slope from 9th Mile axis of the Highway at about 7p.m. on June 11, 2024.

The acting Deputy Director 82 Division Army Public Relations, Lt.-Col. Jonah Unuakhalu, gave the clarification in a statement in Enugu, disclosed that the army does not have a checkpoint within the axis. 

Unuakhalu said that first, “the Division wishes to condole and commiserate with the families whose loved ones were involved in the tragic incident” and prayed for the speedy recovery of those injured.

“The attention of Headquarters 82 Division Nigerian Army has been drawn to the news circulating in some media platforms attributing the Division’s FOB at Ugwu-Onyeama as the cause of an unfortunate and tragic accident that claimed four lives on June 11.

“On receipt of the information early this morning from an online journalist that sought clarification about the incident, he was informed one-off that the Division does not have a checkpoint there.

“The Division only has an FOB Base by the roadside to curb the incessant kidnappings the area was hitherto known for.

“This malicious and unfounded media report is inaccurate and full of falsehoods that are meant to tarnish the appreciable efforts of the troops. It is therefore necessary to set the records straight,” he said.

The division’s spokesman recalled that the rehabilitation of the road was concluded in December, 2024 and the road opened in the first quarter of this year, adding that since then, the troops only had a base and the barriers used for the checkpoint were totally removed.

Unuakhalu said that due to the steep gradient of the road, the road section where the accident occurred had remained problematic since the 1990s and before, during and after the checkpoints were removed.

According to him, the accident that occurred on June 11 happened about 300 metres ahead of the soldiers’ FOB Base.

“Preliminary investigation revealed that the accident occurred due to a brake failure of a trailer coming down a slope from 9th Mile axis. The trailer rammed into other six incoming vehicles from Enugu and not those coming from the same axis of 9th Mile with it.

“Hence, the crash was a head-on and not a rear collision. Thus, the soldiers never stopped any vehicle on the road for any checking but served as a responder to the accident.

“Also, while loss of any life is unfortunate, however, only two people died at the scene of the accident and not 25 cases being reported. Two persons later died at the National Orthopedic Hospital, Enugu where the injured were rushed to.

“It is disheartening to accuse the military of causing the accident. The division is not unaware of the efforts of the kidnappers and illegal miners in the area to get rid of the FOB Base.

“The law abiding citizens are once again assured of the commitment of 82 Division Nigerian Army to continue to serve them as the Nigerian Army remains the Peoples’ Army,” he said.

The division’s spokesman enjoined the general public to disregard the report “as it is not the actual account of what happened”.

“The division will continue to perform its constitutional roles of protecting lives and property within its Area of Responsibility (AOR),” he added.


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