By Bose Adebayo and Balikis Mustapha
One of the popular public relations slogans of the Nigeria Police Force is: â€œPolice is your friendâ€. But the impression of many members of the public is that the claim is one the Police have failed over the years to live up to in most cases asÂ it does appear that such touted Police hand of friendship is usually withheld whenever citizens run into problems.
A recent incident that gives credence to this occurred last Tuesday at Mile 2, on the Oshodi axis of the Apapa-Oshodi expressway. Specifically, it was the scene of an accident that left three children and a bus conductor seriously injured.
The incident which happened around 2.30pm involved a container-laden truck with registration number LAGOS XT101MUS, a Nissan Bluebird (CV293JJJ), a Honda Civic car (LAGOS LS107KJA),Toyota Camry(LAGOS GV 228KJA) and a commercial bus popularly called danfo with plate number XR 615LND.
Although there was no loss of life, the driver of the trailer was said to have disappeared from the scene before anybody could spot him. Three children were seriously injured, their father lost his two legs on the spot while the bus conductor was also injured. The causalities were later taken to the Isolo General Hospital.Â The danfo bus was slightly damaged and three cars got damaged beyond repair.
Eye witnesses account said the victims were left unattended to for some time before they were later taken to Ikeja General Hospital. Save for the sympathisers at the scene, more casualties would have been recorded as some police men at the scene allegedly refused to render any assistance on grounds that the accident scene was outside their jurisdiction.
A survivor and the only one in the Honda Civic told Vanguard Metro that his being alive was simply by the grace of God as his car was severely damaged.
â€œInitially I thought the police men would come to rescue me but was surprised that all of them walked away from the scene. My cry for help did not even attract them. Thank God for sympathisers that quickly gathered to smash the car before I was rescued,â€ he informed.
Asked how it all happened, he said: â€œThere was hold-up right from the top of the bridge and we moved gradually until we got to the foot of the bridge. I was coming from Alaba International Market to my abode at Ikorodu. The only thing I could recollect was that the trailer lost control and hit my car. Before I knew what was happening, the car was already damaged and all I could do was to shout for help. I was held tightly to my seat belt before sympathisers came to
â€˜I sighed a relief when I saw a team of policemen on the spot but was highly disappointed when they disappeared from the scene without rendering any assistance. They were in company of a female DTO and they came back after the whole thing had died down. They later told us to report the incident at Orile
Speaking with Vanguard Metro, an eye witness, Adeoye Ademola, attributed the incident to recklessness of some Custom official. â€œThe accident would not have happened if not for the fact that some Customs officials were pursuing a danfo bus that was carrying some gallons of groundnut oil. The driver was on a high speed from Berger Yard until he ran into the hold-up at Mile Two while the Customs officials were chasing after him.
He also ran into the deep pothole in front of Texalon company while some of the products fell off and spilled on the road. The ground became slippery to motorists and the driver of the trailer could not control himself until he finally hit a danfo bus which skidded and hit the four cars simultaneously. The Customs officials and the bus driver were able to escape from the scene having seen the damage they caused,â€ he narrated.
Another survivor and driver of the Volkswagen, John Mbajito told Vanguard Metro that â€œmy bus was fully loaded but only the conductor was injured and he has been taken to the hospitalâ€.
When Vanguard Metro visited the sceneÂ some LASTMA officials were seen trying to control the traffic.Â Also, a team of policemen stood away from the scene while a police officer told these reporters they were not in position to comment about the development. â€œWe are from Elere police Station, you can go there and ask our DPO for any information. We donâ€™t talk to the press,â€ he muttered.