The victims, mostly women members of the non-governmental group, Women for Change Initiatives and members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, were returning to Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital after a private visit to the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, in her country home of Okrika in Rivers State.
The Bayelsa women leaders, who lost their lives in the accident include former member of the state House of Assembly from Akassa and former Special Adviser to Governor Seriake Dickson on Women Mobilisation, Mrs. Ruby Benjamin; a former Commissioner for Women Affairs under the administration of Governor Timipre Sylva, Mrs Gimbra Pamowei, and a Permanent Secretary simply identified as Mrs. Perekalama.
Others include the wife of the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Elizabeth Alison-Oguru and a Woman Leader from Otuoke Community in Ogbia Local Government Area, Madam Consider Amadi and Mrs. Abila.
Also killed in the accident was the owner of a popular Montessori school in Yenagoa, whose identity could not be immediately ascertained.
It was gather that one of the women and former Bayelsa State Commissioner, Ebisinte Ayabowei survived the accident but in bad condition.
The former Commissioner for Transport, Mrs. Marie Ebikake, who was also in Okrika on the private visit was reported to have driven back to Yenagoa in a separate vehicle and escaped being part of the ill-fated journey.
The three vehicles involved were identified as a Toyota Hiace Bus numbered GBB 591 FS, which caught fire, Toyota Siena numbered ABU 640 AE and Toyota Highlander Jeep numbered YEN 371 RJ.
The cause of accident was blamed on a burst tyre of the vehicle in front while the other rammed into it.
The injured were taken to Madonna Hospital in Elele by the Police who first got to the scene.
The corpse of one of the victims was deposited at Oepdem Mortuary in Ahoada while police took another corpse to Rumuji. Nine others were burnt beyond recognition.”
Meanwhile, the Bayelsa State Government, has declared three days mourning in honour of the women.
Governor Henry Dickson of Bayelsa State, yesterday expressed pains, shock and grief over the accident.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Organisation, APCPCO, has commiserated with the people and government of Bayelsa State over the death of the prominent women in the state in the accident.
Dickson in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, described the incident as tragic, monumental and painful loss to the state, adding “The women that lost their lives in the accident are our mothers and sisters.”
He prayed God to grant the bereaved families the courage and strength to bear the very painful and irreparable losses.
He added: “All official engagements of the governor have been suspended for three days as a mark of honour and respect for the souls of the departed women.”
A statement by the Director of Media and Publicity of APCPCO, Malam Garba Shehu, urged families of all those who may have lost their loved ones in the tragedy to take solace in the comfort of God.
It said: “It is with a painful heart that we commiserate with the people and Government of Bayelsa over the ghastly auto crash involving some supporters of the First Lady.
“We pray that God will grant the bereaved families the fortitude to bear the losses. We urge the people and government of Bayelsa State to be comforted and strengthened by God as they grieve over the loss of dear ones.”