By Chioma Obinna
LAGOSIANSÂ have witnessed many a tragic incident at the popular Cele Bus-stop along the Oshodi – Apapa Express way, but nothing to compare with the gory scene of last Saturday September 26 that has become the latest tale of sorrow, tears and regret in Lagos.
For many of those who witnessed the accident as it occurred or came by later on, the accident scene is one that may haunt their memories or evenÂ cause them frightening nightmares for aÂ long time to come.
The accident involving a truck carrying bags of sugar did not only bring death in numbers,but left the entrails, hearts, livers, brain, limbs and other parts of its human victims scattered all over that side of the bus-stop. And not surprisingly there was blood all over the place to complete the gory picture.
Hours later, these dismembered human organs and parts,especially hearts and livers could still be found lying there after the main bodies have been removed by the Police and health workers. It was a scene that leftÂ many weeping uncontrollably; weeping for these unfortunate victims that they probably never met while they were still alive.
The tragic irony is that across the drainage canal at Cele Express is an abattoir called Odo Eran where cows are slaughterd on a daily basis for human consumption. But on this ill-fated day, human lives were slaughtered by the god of accident.
The horror sight came courtesy ofÂ break failure on the part of the trailer which consequently rammed into unsuspecting passengers at the bus-stop, killing five of them on the spot, whileÂ several others sustained serious injuries. Among those who died on the spot was a pregnant woman who was also alleged to be a Corps member . The 15 who suffered different degrees of injuries were subsequently rushed to nearby hospitals for treatment.
The belief is that the casualty figure would have been higher but for the timely decision of the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, to sack roadside traders and dismantle their stalls around the bus stop.
The trailer with registration number XC 482 FKJ and carrying Dangote sugarÂ was coming from Mile 2 and heading towards Oshodi when it suffered brake failure.Â TheÂ driver was said toÂ have tried to steer it to safety but to no avail.
It subsequently crashed into the commuters who had gathered there a few minutes after the end of the monthly environmental sanitation exercise, waiting to boardÂ buses to their various destinations. This was about 10.25am.
Vanguard Metro gathered that most of the victims were hurrying either to attendÂ social functions or were on the way to their offices and places of business.
Moments after the accident, the trailer caught fire, leading to a near stampede on the nearby pedestrian bridge which could have proved tragic but for the timely intervention of the police which saved the situation.
When Vanguard Metro visited the scene, the dead bodies of a man and the pregnant woman were still lying on the ground.
As is usually the case, there were different versions as to whatÂ caused the accident. While some claimed that the driver dozed -off on the driving wheel, a few others attributed it toÂ brake failure.
According to an eye witness account, when the driver lost control of theÂ trailer due to break failure, he swerved it to where the victims were waiting for buses. This was also the view of another eye witness, Mr Richard Nkwocha, who claimed to be among those at the bus stop when the incident occurred.
He also informed that the driver bolted awayÂ when he saw an angry mob gathering to descend on him. He was said to have taken refuge at the nearby police station.
â€œWe were all here waiting for bus to Oshodi when it happened. The driver lost control of the vehicle.
The breakÂ must have failed but instead of him to divert to the express, he immediately swerved to our side,â€ he said with suppressed fury tinged with sorrow. Another eye witness informed that after the driver had succeeded in escaping, some members of the mob descending on the trailer and set it ablaze.
Others vented their fury by raining curses on the Dangote Group and the drivers of its trucks and other articulated vehicles.
Most wanted sea robber shot dead by Marine Police
A SUSPECTEDÂ sea robber who has been on the wanted lists ofÂ both the Nigeria Police and the Nigerian Navy has been shot dead by detectives from the Marine Police in Lagos.
Police sources saidÂ Â the operation which was led by the Officer-in-Charge (OC) of the Marine Police, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Emmanuel Emu,Â has since brought sanity on the nationâ€™sÂ territorial waters.
The suspect who was identified as Oluwadamilare Odoka had been terrorising and extorting money from various persons, including companies doing legitimate businesses on the sea until heÂ met his waterloo on that fateful day.
According to the Police, the late suspect and others presently at large were sighted in a boat at about 6.pm and detectives which suspected the vessel gave it a hot chase and flagged it to a halt.
The driver of the vessel apparently being innocent, promptly obeyed and brought the vessel to a halt. One of the police men then got on board to conduct a search.Â Reports said while the search was in progress, the late suspect violently pushed the driver off the seat into the water and took over the piloting of the boat,Â ignoring orders by the police to stop further movement.Â The police men were said to have fired several shots into the air to scare him to a stop but heÂ ignored this and sped on.
Kerosene hits N150 per litre
In spite of the fact that the Federal Government has promised to make the price of Dual Purpose Kerosene, DPK affordable to its citizens, the product is presently selling beyond the reach of the masses as a litre is being sold between N110 and N150 .
In places like Yaba, Akoka and Surulere, a gallon (five litres) of kerosene is being sold for N700 (N140 a litre), while the same quantity goes for N800 in Isolo and environ.
The scarcity of the product has led to retailers increasing the price from the officialÂ N70Â a litre to N110.
Some retailers who spoke with Vanguard Metro blamed the hike in the price of the commodity to the major oil marketers whom, they said, had stopped importation of the product.
They said the refineries in the country were no longer producing the commodity because of internal problems.
An attendant at the Oando Filling Station at Pedro, Palmgrove, Alhaji Qudus, also disclosed that the sole importer of kerosene is now the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), adding that the quantity imported into the country was not enough for the domestic market.