August 21, 2020

‘Truck carrying unlatched container which killed 3 in Lagos not roadworthy’


A Vehicle Inspection Officer, VIO, Mr Hamed Baruwa, on Thursday told an Igbosere High Court, Lagos, that the truck from which an unlatched container fell and killed three people was not roadworthy.

Baruwa testified as the first prosecution witness in the trial of a truck driver, Sodiq Okanlanwan, and the truck owner, Wasiu Lekan, over alleged involuntary manslaughter.

The witness was led in evidence by Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN).

Baruwa said he was directed by his boss, Mr Akin Fashola, to investigate the accident.

“On Aug. 6, I proceeded to Ilasamaja Police Station, where I met DSP Oluwasola Omololu, who took me to the place where the vehicles involved in the accident were parked at Balex Bus stop.

“I saw that the Volkswagen commercial bus was compressed because a container fell on it.

“I noticed that the truck carrying the 20-foot container which caused the accident is not roadworthy.

“I noticed that the front and back fender, the backlight and the shaft of the truck were not there,” he testified.

The witness said he went to the scene of the accident and found out that the road was smooth.

According to him, there were no potholes on the road.

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He told the court that he took photographs of the vehicles and the road.

The officer also said that he logged the truck registration No. SGM 715 XA, in a detective machine and discovered that the vehicle licence had expired since 2018.

However, the defendants’ counsel, Mr M. A. Osamede, urged the court for an adjournment to enable him to cross-examine the witness.

Justice Mobolanle Okikiolu-Ighile adjourned the case until Aug. 26 for continuation of trial.

Earlier, the prosecutor informed the court of an amended charge and additional proof of evidence dated Aug.19.

The charge was amended to seven counts as against the earlier three counts.

In the amended charge, the prosecution stated that, on July 26, at 4: 30pm, at Ilasamaja, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, the driver drove the articulated vehicle with registration number SGM 715 XA recklessly.

It added that the vehicle was carrying an unlatched container which fell and caused the death of Nnaekpe Victor, Chidinma Ajoku and Daniel Okwuoge.

It also alleged that the second defendant, the owner of the truck, failed to ensure that his articulated vehicle was roadworthy, thereby causing the death of the three people.

Okanlawon and Lekan were also alleged to have failed to obtain a valid licence, hackney permit and insurance certificate for the vehicle, in conformity to the standards of commercial vehicle operation in Lagos State.

According to the prosecution, the offences contravene Section 229 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

The defendants were also accused of liability for safety of vehicles contrary to Section 18 of the Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law of 2018.

They, however, pleaded not guilty to all the counts.

Vanguard News Nigeria