A truck overloaded with food items and more than 200 people crashed in north-central Nigeria’s Niger state, killing 25 passengers and injuring dozens of others, authorities said Wednesday.
The truck was on its way to Nigeria’s economic hub of Lagos on Tuesday when it crashed in Takalafia village in Niger’s Magama district on Tuesday, according to Nigeria’s road safety agency.
Niger Gov. Mohammed Umaru Bago said in a statement that the 25 victims have been taken to a nearby mortuary while other passengers were being treated for their injuries.
Kumar Tsukwam, sector commander of Nigeria’s Federal Road Safety Corps in Niger, told The Associated Press that it’s believed some of the passengers wanted to travel with the trailer through Tuesday night to avoid unsafe roads during the day.
“The passengers were not mindful of the (nature of the) road and the goods it was conveying,” Tsukwam said.
Overloading and speeding are common causes of crashes along major roads in Nigeria where traffic rules are often not adhered to, with drivers who disobey the rules often escaping penalties.
Authorities are going to ensure that “stringent penalties are meted out to traffic rule violators” in Niger state, Bago said.
Nigerian President Bola Tinubu mourned the victims and urged commuters to drive safely, especially as the festive season approaches.
“The president describes the incident as a harrowing tragedy and directs the agency responsible for emergency response to immediately move in and ensure that those injured get the necessary treatment,” Tinubu’s office said in a statement.