By Godfrey Bivbere & Ifeyinwa Obi
Tragedy was, yesterday, averted as a trailer was forced off the Auto-Wharf end of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway by a suspected Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, official, who struggled for control of the vehicle wheels with the driver.
The trailer rammed into a commercial bike rider, Okada man, before breaking into the annex of the Port and Terminal Multi-Services Limited, PTML, Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, located in the area at 8a.m.
The Group Chief Security Officer of PTML, Oscar Aliu, said the damage was colossal, adding that over eight customs officers were injured, laptops and several other work tools destroyed by the truck.
He said the LASTMA officials, who caused the accident, ran away, but they were able to catch their agent who is presently in their custody.
An eyewitness, who spoke to Vanguard on the condition of anonymity, said the bike rider, who was seriously injured, had been rushed to the hospital. The eyewitness expressed doubt on the bike rider’s chances of survival.
Clearing activities at the busy terminal was grounded for about three hours before skeletal work began at the premises, where imported second hand vehicles, popular-ly called Tokunbo, are cleared.
However, Steve Okoma, Public Relations Officer of the PTML Command, told Vanguard that the man survived the accident and is presently in the hospital.
Okoma noted that no Customs officer or indeed any other person was affected as people were just resuming for the day.
When Vanguard visited the scene, policemen were seen supervising the removal of the trailer, which had a foreign number plate, 474 B22, from the compound, while the damaged bike, with number plate KTU 522 QE was placed on the bed of the truck.
A driver’s license issued in Kano and believed to belong to the driver of the trailer, with the name Mustapha Umar, was beneath the truck. The license was later taken by the police.
Another eyewitness told Vanguard that the accident was caused by the LASTMA official, who had apprehended the trail and wanted the driver to turn and drive against the traffic to their park at Mile2.
The eyewitness said the driver refused and as they were struggling for the control of the truck, the brake failed and the truck rammed into the PTML property.
When contacted, the image maker of LASTMA said his men were not involved in the incident, adding that the so-called LASTMA official arrested by the Customs was a tout.