Federal Government insensitive to our plight- commuters
The misery being experienced by commuters on Apapa-Oshodi Expressway daily due to the menace of articulated trucks and tankers which has resulted to the gridlock on the expressway, continued yesterday, as a commuter was crushed to death by a truck around Fort Oil filling station by Berger Yard.
Vanguard investigation has revealed that at least three persons are killed weekly along the Apapa /Oshodi expressway, owing to the perennial gridlock that has defied all measures put in place by the Federal Government to clear trucks away from the ever busy expressway.
As at yesterday, a third victim was killed at Otto Wolff by a truck. The deceased with an undisclosed identity , was walking on the pedestrian pavement, from Berger yard, outward Apapa. He was said to be heading towards Mile 2, to board a commercial bus to his destination, when he was hit by a truck.
Explaining how the incident occurred, an eye witness, Biola Ogunbiyi, said, “ I didn’t know the deceased. But we were walking together from Berger cement, to Mile 2, to beat the traffic. But I received a call before reaching Otto and I stopped to pick the call, while he kept on walking.
“I had barely finished answering the call when I heard an uproar. A truck which was moving inward Apapa, hit one of the trucks parked on the pavement which in turn hit the one in front of it. The second truck rammed into the man, causing him to hit his head on another truck behind him. His skull shattered and he died on the spot before help could come”.
The situation sparked up a protest as some aggrieved commuters attempted to shatter the truck that caused the incident. But the attempted attack was prevented by policemen from Kirikiri Division , who towed the truck to their division.
Vanguard also learned that a similar incident occurred three days ago at Mile 2, involving a man. While the third case also occurred at Mile 2-Oke, outward Apapa.
Also last week at Otto Wolff, a truck driver, ran into some commercial motorcyclists at Otto Wolff, with two passengers feared dead. Another pathetic case was that of a bread hawker, at Second Rainbow. She was at the verge crossing the road, when she sighted a truck with only one head light, approaching , from the Apapa end. In her bid to doge being hit, an oncoming vehicle from the opposite direction, hit her, killing her on the spot with her remaining loaves of bread scattered on the expressway.
Eye witnesses blamed Federal Government for the cause of the deaths. One of them, said, “ If we had a government that is sensitive to the plight of the masses, perhaps this situation would have been a thing of the past.
How could a president give directive for this place to be cleared and the situation became worse than it was ?
If the truck driver behaved themselves in an orderly manner, the incident of today (yesterday) would have been avoided. But no! They have not only taken over the expressway but even the walkway meant for pedestrian. See how they (pointing to the parked trucks) are parked in an unbalanced way on the road, placing one part of the truck on the pedestrian walkway, and the other part on the vehicular road.
If they were properly parked, the truck that was driving into the port would not have hit it and the death of the innocent man would have been prevented. The man that died was a husband , a father and perhaps still had parents. Tell me, how would his family members fell if they hear this? Who bears the cost of his burial? Government? “.
Blame Task Team
Another pedestrian who gave his name as Nwachukwu Chioye, blamed the cause of the calamity on members of the taskforce set up to ensure free movement along the axis .
He said, “ Why was the task team set up in the first place? Is it not to control traffic? If yes, who authorized the trucks to park on the pedestrian walkway? People can no longer walk freely again. Just last week, about three people were killed in this area because, the members of the task force are busy collecting money from these truck drivers, forgetting the primary reason for which they were sent here”.
His assertion caused a near verbal confrontation with some members of the task Force at Berger Yard. The task team member who wore a shirt on his uniform apparently to avoid being identified, said, “ it is very easy to blame one. Every time we heard people saying we collect money, why don’t you come and do the job.
“Just this morning, a driver of the truck that killed someone was asked him to take the truck out of here, but he refused and threatened to beat us up. There is civil disobedience by these truck drivers, probably because their employees are well connected and any time we seize their trucks, their owners would call authorities who would ask us to release the trucks.’’
‘’We have laid complains about the issues of truck and trailers being packed on the road to the appropriate authorities, but they have refused to do anything about it. What do you expect to do?”
One would have expected members of the taskforce to direct truck drivers to move their trucks away from the pedestrian walkway between Otto Wolff and Berger Yard, inward Apapa. But as at 7.30pm, the trucks were still parked there and the road totally blocked , thereby denying other road users access.
It would also be recalled that at about 5 pm on Saturday May 27, 2019, a 33 year-old Mrs. Folashade Aogundade, an officer of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), who was deployed to Apapa to see to the evacuation of articulated trucks and tankers off the road, was crushed to death by a truck.
Another incident was the one involving a maritime journalist, Segun Agboola, whowas crushed to death recently while riding on a motor bike from Mile 2 to Apapa to beat the chaotic traffic situation. The incident occurred at Trinity bus stop as the motorcycle rider tried to maneuver around two trucks. The bike was knocked down and one of the trucks ran over both rider and the journalist who died instantly.
There was also the case of a Youth Corper working Tin-can Island Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, who was recently crushed to death at Cocoa-Nut bus stop while riding a bike to Mile 2 after the close of work.
Deaths from Okada riders
Motor cycles popularly referred to as Okada, have equally become a menace on the busy expressway with the recklessness of the cyclists which often results to the death of their passengers.
According to some residents and traders on the axis, there is nothing as scary as having to meander through killer tankers and trailers in the Apapa-Wolff gridlock on a bike, facing these monster trucks face-to-face.
The fact is that since the normal means of bus transformation has failed on the axis, traders and residents had resorted to using commercial bike operators (Okada) if they must carry out their normal routine within a reasonable time.
But the worrisome situation remains that these truck drivers do not see okada riders as co-road users and wouldn’t want them to operate in an environment where they (truck drivers) operate.
Of course, some of the Okada riders being what they are, not valuing their lives and that of the passengers, would rather die than not risking their lives to pass through a narrow space that would ordinarily not accommodate them.
As a result of this character of impatience, a number of them have been maimed, killed and many more will be killed by these trucks due to the situation which the Federal Government and other authorities appear not to be interested in fixing.