Mystery smoke which usually covers the sight of road users along Nnewi-Okigwe Expressway in Nnewi, Anambra State has caused an auto crash that claimed four lives at about 7:30pm on Tuesday.

An eyewitness said the accident involved two motorcycle riders with their passengers whose views became clouded by smoke at a dangerous hill called ugwu akpati ozu (hill of coffins) as they were descending and had to run into an oncoming vehicle which eventually crushed them.

One of the sources said it was not certain whether the victims died instantly but another source confirmed it was a fatal collision.

Chairman of Nnewi Butchers Association, who doubles as the Commander, Nnewi Central Vigilance group, Chief Amobi Nnoluka, said the accident occurred a few minutes after he had passed the spot, which is very close to the abattoir.

Nnoluka said the smoke, which comes from a refuse dumpsite had always caused road crashes for many years at that spot “even though we don’t know who sets fire to the refuse.

“The fire always starts by 8:00pm and stops at about10:00pm daily to start again by 6:30am the next day and stops at 10:00am. We do not know whether it is the people who use dust stove and dispose of the ashes there that cause the fire or those who use the dump as a hideout to smoke Indian hemp, who cause it. Nobody has ever been arrested there to know the exact cause,” Nnoluka added.

He explained that it was a regular occurrence mostly during dry seasons and said the fear of the traders was the fire escalating to their business areas one day “since we do not have any fire station here or firefighting equipment.”

Owner of a block industry near the smoky environment, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NAFORS Concrete Industries Limited, Mr. Eberejah Okoli, also lamented the adverse effect of the smoke to his company and workers. He said his company had been suffering environmental degradation since 1989 and called for help.

Contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Anambra State Police Command, Mr. Okechukwu Ali (DSP) said the report had not been brought to him.

Sun