At least seven people have been killed and more than two dozen injured when a car ploughed into a popular carnival in Calabar in southeastern Nigeria, a highway security official says.
A Toyota Camry lost control and rammed into a crowd of onlookers in the port city near the border with Cameroon, Maikano Hassan, the local commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps, said in a statement on Wednesday.
Seven people died and 29 were injured on Tuesday, some of them critically, according to the statement. The driver survived but was injured.
While local media said “several died”, the BBC placed the death toll at 14, adding that the event, which attracts local visitors and foreign tourists, had taken place for the first time since COVID-19 restrictions cancelled it for the past two years.
It cited the police as saying that the driver was “drunk” and lost control of the vehicle.
The incident happened as the crowd were watching a motorcycle parade in front of a mosque in the district of Bogobiri.
Calabar, the capital of Cross River state, puts on one of West Africa’s most well-known carnivals each December. The bikers show is one of the main highlights of the event, known as one of Africa’s biggest street parties.
The official site says the event draws nearly two million people each year.
Cross River Governor Ben Ayade urged police to apprehend the driver, who he said sped off after “the accident”.
He also ordered them to investigate how the driver was able to enter an area that was supposed to have been closed off for the carnival.