January 30, 2023

Ojuelegba carnage: Sanwo-Olu orders trial of truck owner, driver


.As govt moves to prevent future occurrence

. Commiserates with families

.Residents Lament spare of truck accidents

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

Lagos State Governor, Bababjide Sanwo-Olu, has directed the state Ministry of Justice and relevant authorities to commence the trial of the owner and driver of the ill-fated container laden truck which fell on a mini commercial bus, called “Korope”on Sunday, at Ojuelegba Bridge, Surulere area of the state, killing nine passengers in the process.

A container laden truck fell on the Korope, with registration number, KTU 921 YD, killing nine occupants in the process with one survivor.

Meanwhile, Sanwo-Olu has commiserated with the families who lost their loved ones in the accident, praying God to console them and grant them the strength to go through the difficult time.

Identified victims are: Miss Blessing Isioma, Mr. Abdurahman Okoya Sunday, Mr. Felix John Ifeanyi, 40, Mrs. Olatokunbo Basirat King, 49, among others.

Governor Sanwo-Olu, after receiving an interim report of the incident, on Monday, directed the police to speed up their investigation of the matter. 

According to the state Commissoner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, besides, the governor gave the following directives: “That The driver of the truck and the owner, who are in police custody, must be prosecuted; Ministry of Transportation and Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) should meet urgently to find a lasting solution to the menace of falling trucks; and all the laws governing the operations of trucks and related vehicles must be enforced with more vigour and diligence.

“The incident of January 29, 2023, is one too many and it shows the irresponsibility of owners and drivers of such articulated vehicles who under the law should care for other road users.

“The Lagos State Government has zero tolerance for large containers that fall off trucks and injure or kill citizens, who are going about their lawful businesses.  

“The driver, Sodiq Okanlawon, and the owner, Wasiu Lekan, of a container which killed three people on the July 26, 2020, on Oshodi/Apapa Expressway, Ilasamaja, were prosecuted and convicted on the February 28, 2022, and sentenced to life imprisonment by Justice Okikiolu Ighile.  

“The State Government will, in a similar manner, ensure that the driver and the owner of the truck involved in the January 29 incident are put on trial for the needless death of our dear citizens.

“This, we hope, will send a strong message to all those who have no regard for other people’s lives that Lagos will not condone their recklessness. 

“They must be stopped, with the strong backing of our laws, because their actions offend our avowed commitment to safety and decency,” Omotoso. Stated.

Earlier, while sympathising with the bereaved families, the state governor, directed the Ministry of Transportation to thoroughly investigate the remote and immediate cause of the accident so as to prevent a recurrence.

“We are working with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to install Vehicle/Truck barriers on the inward and outward sections of the Bridge.

“We share the grief of those who lost their loved ones in the accident and pray that the Almighty will strengthen them at this difficult time.

“The Government will continue to implement its Transport Master Plan, which has safety strategies that will ensure that our roads are safe,” Commissoner for Transportation, Dr. Federic Oladeinde stated.

Residents react

Residents and sympathisers have expressed concern over what they called “lackaidaisical, inactive” attitude of relevant authorities towards prevention of fatal truck accidents across the country, particularly, in Lagos State.

The concern came on the heels of latest Ojuelegba truck carnage.

The incident was one of the many occurrences, including tankers, which had claimed several innocent lives in Lagos and other states in the country without holistic measures to address the menace.

Some residents who reacted to the accident, heaped the blames on relevant authorities for failing to live up to their responsibilities, particularly Lagos State Government on protection of lives.

Mr Muri Hassan said, “These tragedies are avoidable. It is crazy seeing this happening all the times. Lagos State Government through it’s emergency responders really needs to take these safety issues up without paying lips services. 

“Nobody cares whether heavy or lighter Goliath equipment was used in managing the crisis. It concerns nobody how many truck of water tankers was used in managing disaster. 

“We all opened our eyes to allow these disasters to occur. It is like we enjoy managing crisis and disaster than preventing it.  

“If it is not a fallen tanker, container, it will be building collapse and other numerous disasters common in our society. 

“Why are we like this in this country? Why is life meaningless to us, particularly those in authority. Anybody could be victim of this negligence. It is sad and painful.”

Also, Mr. Steven Adekunle, said, “What happens to the laws regulating movenent of containers of not moving during daytime. So many things are wrong with us in the state and country.

“It so sad and unfortunate. Untill it happens to a family member of a VIP, those in authority will not enforce the laws.

“The truth is most of these container trucks are rickety and cannot mount those bridges so most of the time, they roll back and cause  accident.

“Ordinarily, they are not even supposed to go through the bridges but area boys and extortion make them see bridges as alternatives.

“Until government agencies put a stop to extortion by non- state actors, we may soon record another of the same portion, even more.

Also, Mr. Bassey Okon said, “Do you take these people, seriously, they thrive in noise making. There was a barrier preventing truck from climbing that bridge. 

“Ask them who removed the barrier and why it was never replaced.”

Another concern resident, simply identified as Kunle, said,”The cabals own the containers.”

“Tanker and containers have sent many to their early graves. May we not be victims of these preventable accidents,” Mrs. Adesanya Abimbola lamented.