The Dangote Cement Company has written to the Vice-Chancellor of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Ondo State, over a fatal crash involving one of its trucks whose brakes failed in front of the university gate and killed no fewer than 10 students.
SaharaReporters learnt that the company’s General Managing Director, Michel Pucheros, wrote the letter, asking God to strengthen the university and families to “bear this great loss” but failed to mention any compensation for the bereaved families and injured students.
Dangote Company, in a letter dated January 25, 2021, titled, Condolence, and obtained by SaharaReporters, only noted that “measures are being taken to mitigate such incidents in the future.”
The letter was addressed to the AAUA Vice-Chancellor, Prof Olugbenga Ige.
The AAUA authorities had on Sunday been forced to shut down the school after the fatal crash which occurred on Saturday and claimed the lives of several students, including the former Students’ Union Government President, Adesomoju Samuel, who was buried on Monday in Okitipupa town.
It was reported that three siblings were among the victims, who lost their lives in the crash.
The Dangote Cement truck, which was heading for Owo from Obajana in Kogi State, developed faulty brakes as the driver lost control of the vehicle and swerved off the road, ramming into some shops directly opposite the university.
In a Facebook post, a former spokesman for the Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Joe Igbokwe, had noted that the mother of the three siblings killed in the crash also died of shock on hearing the sad news about her children.
The Dangote Cement GMD in its scanty letter to the university authorities failed to list compensation for the bereaved families nor did it commit to bear the cost of treatment of the injured students.
The GMD, Pucheros, wrote, “On behalf of the Board, Management and Staff of the Dangote Cement Plc, allow me to extend my deepest condolences to you and the entire academic community of the Adekunle Ajasin University on the sad demise of those students who were affected by the unfortunate truck incident which occurred recently.
“The situation is all the more painful as those affected students were supposed to have started their examinations this week. While we join you to mourn their loss, we would like to assure you and the entire academic community that all necessary measures are being taken to mitigate such incidents in the future.
“Already, strict internal control measures are in place across the cement group operations to check and sanction all erring drivers or third party officials who through their careless actions cause avoidable accidents or loss of innocent lives.
“May the Almighty God give you, the entire Akungba academic community and the families of the affected students the fortitude to bear this great loss.”
The company stated that it cared “a lot about the well-being of people and we have ongoing initiatives to encourage the youths in our host communities in their chosen careers and livelihoods,” adding that the incident was regrettable.