14th September, 2012
It took the combined efforts of the police and soldiers of the Operation MESA, the Cross River State security outfit, who threatened to shoot to secure some crates of Heineken beer from a Nigerian Breweries Plc truck which plunged into a gully in Calabar on Wednesday evening.
The Foton truck, with registration number XX 487 APP driven by a 21-year old diminutive teenager who gave his name as Sode, plunged into a gully by Hawkins Road at a narrow strip at the Calabar Bayside.
The road was obviously too narrow for the vehicle of its size.
The truck carrying 1,170 crates of Heineken beer belonging to a Calabar-based beer distributor, Willy and Sons Limited, located on 42, Edem Street, Bayside, almost plunged into the Calabar River but fortunately its tyres got stuck by the roadside and it ended up in a nearby gully some metres away from the river.
Sode, the driver who was not accompanied by an assistant, told P.M.NEWS that he was led to the disastrous strip by an official of the Department of Public Transportation (DOPT), the Cross River State road safety agency since it was his first time in Calabar.
“An official of DOPT led me here. I did not know that there is another road which would have been safer,” he said.
He said he left Iganmu, home of the NBL in Lagos, southwest Nigeria, on Tuesday morning and got to Calabar on Wednesday afternoon only to end up in a gully some yards away from where he was to discharge his goods.
The crash left the truck tires mangled, the steering oil spilling out while other parts of the truck remained in good shape.
Miss Vivien, a sales girl with the company said they had to engage the services of the Operation MESSA to safeguard their product when “area boys started carting away crates of our Heineken beer. Even when we begged them to stop, they threatened to stab us with broken beer bottles.”
She lamented that “on the Umuahia–Ikot Ekpene Road which is terrible down to the devastated Uyo-Calabar road, the accident did not happen. It is here in Calabar because of one fellow in DOPT. We have lost almost half of our supply.”