By Levinus Nwabughiogu, with agency report
Funeral prayers for the 21 students and three teachers of Government Day Junior Secondary School, Misau, Bauchi State, who died in an automobile accident, was held in Misau, amidst tears from parents and relations.
This came as President Muhammadu Buhari, National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS; Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and All Progressives Congress, APC, mourned the dead.
The prayers, held at the palace of the Emir of Misau, Alhaji Ahmed Suleiman, was led by the Chief Imam of Misau Central Mosque, Alhaji Usman Baba.
It was gathered that when residents of the town received report of the incident, they started mourning, suspending socio-economic activities.
Alhaji Nasiru Darazo, elder brother to one of the late students, Ibrahim Girema, described their death as a ‘colossal loss.’
He said: “These are young men who we are looking up to as leaders of tomorrow; today, they are no more. I have never seen such a tragedy.
“Their remains were all smashed; you would not like to look at their bodies twice.”
Recall that the students and their teachers were returning from an excursion, Tuesday, when their bus collided head-on with a trailer along Kano-Gaya Road in Kano State, resulting in the death of 11 male and 10 female students, as well as their teachers.
Mr. Kabir Ibrahim-Daura, Public Relations Officer, Kano State Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, said the accident occurred at 11a.m., near Tsaida village in Gaya Local Government Area.
Meanwhile, President Buhari in a condolence message to the Government of Bauchi State over the death of the students and teachers, prayed Allah to accept the souls of the deceased and forgive their sins.
Similarly, Dogara, in a statement in Abuja by Turaki Hassan, his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, said: “I am deeply saddened by the untimely and sudden death of these children.
“They died while pursuing education and quest for knowledge as future leaders of our country. This is a national tragedy of monumental proportion and a huge loss to the country.
“These children embodied our hopes and aspirations for a better society and their sudden death is a big loss to Nigeria, because only God knows what they could have become in the future.
“I wish to extend my heartfelt condolences to their parents, students and teachers of Government Secondary School Misau, Misau Emirate Council and the entire Bauchi State over this tragic incident.”
Dogara said no amount of words would be enough to console the parents and prayed God to give them the fortitude to bear their losses.
On its part, APC, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, said the party “deeply mourns the tragic death of the 21 students, three teachers and a driver, following a motor accident, while returning from an educational excursion in Kano State on Tuesday.
“The death of our loved ones is very sad and never easy to accept, particularly when it is unexpected and they are young.
“Indeed, the country has lost a young and vibrant generation of students, who could have contributed to national development and humanity.
“Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to the families, friends, fellow students, school management, government and people of Bauchi State over the terrible loss.
“We pray that Almighty God comfort them and grant the dead eternal rest.
Also, the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, has commiserated with the government and people of Bauchi State over the death of 21 students and three teachers in a road accident.
The NANS National Public Relations Officer, Bestman Okereafor, expressed their sympathy in a statement issued in Enugu.
The statement read: “NANS received, with shock, the sad news of the death of the students, alongside their teachers in a ghastly motor accident on Kano-Gaya Road.
“We commiserate with the parents and relatives of the victims as well as extend our sympathy to the management of the school, Bauchi State Wing of NUT and friends of the victims.”