By Olaitan Shinyabola
Several Customs operatives and clearing agents operating at the PTML Mile 2 Annex, Lagos narrowly escaped death when a truck crashed into the building housing both the customs office and staff of the terminal operator on Wednesday. The accident consequently, paralysed business activities in the area.
According to eyewitness account, the incident occurred about 6.30am Wednesday, when some Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) officials with vehicle number APAPA 01 allegedly pursued a truck driver and in an attempt to arrest him for reversing on the Mile 2- Apapa Oshodi Expressway the driver lost control of the vehicle.
It was gathered that the driver veered off the expressway and rammed into the PTML building when the LASTMA officials, together with the touts who work with them, tried to forcefully seize control of the steering while the truck was in motion. It was also gathered that some customs officers and a motorcyclist were seriously injured in the process. Chief Security Officer of the terminal, Oscar Aliu described the incident as a colossal damage.
He said, “The incident happened about 6.30am. The truck was making a mere reverse on the road and the LASTMA officials wanted to accost him together with their camp boys. In the cause of fighting the driver and trying to take control of the steering, the trailer skidded off the highway and hit the fence. An Okada guy was smashed and we are still battling if he can survive.
“The estimate of the damage is colossal because Customs is yet to come out with the damage of the equipment stationed here. Some customs officers were partly injured and most of them are currently undergoing treatment. One of our staff vehicles was mangled, the fence is gone, and the main building too is gone so the damage is colossal.”
It was gathered that on sighting the gravity of damage, officials sped away. But no one could identify any of the LASTMA officials.
When contacted, image maker of the PTML Customs Command, Steve Okonmah said although the incident will partially disrupt activities at the PTML Annex, measures were being put in place to ensure that work resumes in no time.
“This is a place where you have officers, agents gathered everyday but we thank God they had not gathered before this incident happened. It has disrupted job but we are working round the clock to make sure that work resumes immediately,” he said.
At press time effort to speak with the LASTMA spokesperson was unsuccessful as repeated calls to the mobile phone line did not connect.