Fortnight ago, about a dozen Lagosians lost their lives in various truck accidents in the state. The avoidable accidents were caused by articulated vehicles which most times lose control due to faulty braking systems or one mechanical fault or the other.
Another round of carnage caused by rickety trucks started on Friday 23rd of December, 2022, along the Oshodi-Apapa expressway when a container-laden articulated truck fell on a commercial bus killing the driver instantly.
It was gathered that the incident, which involved the truck and three other vehicles, led to four persons sustaining various degrees of life-threatening injuries.
Findings by LEADERSHIP Weekend show that the safety audit carried out by the Lagos State Government and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) was a major reason rickety trucks still come to pick up cargo at the ports.
This is even as the manner and process through which approval is granted to trucks to pick up cargo at the port are fraught with irregularities.
Basically, trucks are certified by both the Lagos State Government and the NPA before they are allowed to go into the ports to pick containers.
The Minimum Safety Standard (MSS) certification is being carried out by the Truck Transit Parks (TTP) on behalf of the NPA. This means that every truck that passes through the electronic call-up must have already been certified before picking up containers at the ports, sadly findings show that the MSS certification is done without proper checks and balances by relevant authorities a major reason why innocent Nigerians continue to lose their lives amidst the failure of the TTP to conduct due diligence on the trucks.
Giving details of the incident, permanent secretary, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, said the driver of the truck lost control of the vehicle after a faulty braking system.
“On arrival of the Agency’s LRT at the scene, it was discovered that multiple accidents involving a MACK truck with unknown registration number conveying twin 20ft containers, a Volkswagen bus with registration number AKD 489XZ, a Highlander SUV with registration number AGL 366FP, and a Toyota RAV4 with registration number AAA 353FH was encountered at the above-mentioned location.”
“Further information gathered at the scene revealed that the truck driver lost control due to a mechanical fault (brake failure) while at top speed, before ramming into the vehicles ahead of it.
“Unfortunately, an adult male (bus driver) lost his life to the incident, while the injured victims, four in number, three males, one female, have been transported to the hospital.
However, the remains of the deceased have been bagged and handed over to the relatives.
Also on Sunday, 29 January, 2023, about 9 persons were killed after another container-laden truck had brake failure while ascending the Ojuelegba bridge, Lagos state.
The incident which occurred less than a month after the Oshodi-Apapa expressway incident, it was gathered, happened when a bus alight and the truck lost control and fell on top of the commercial bus killing seven adults and two children instantly.
Oke-Osanyintolu said, “upon arrival at the scene, a truck conveying a 20ft container was found to have landed on top of a commercial bus. Further investigations revealed that the bus was picking up passengers when the truck lost control and fell over the side of the bridge.”
“After suspending the container load with the aid of the Agency’s forklift and cutting off the top of the bus with light rescue equipment, a single adult woman was extricated alive and taken to the trauma centre.”
“A total of 9 fatalities were recovered comprising of 3 adult males, 4 adult females, a girl child, and a boy child. The Agency’s heavy-duty Goliath and teams from Onipanu and Cappa are on the ground. The Agency’s Ambulance, LASG FIRE, FED FIRE, LASTMA and Nigeria Police have been working on this situation which is now concluded.
“The LASEMA boss, however, disclosed that further investigation would be carried out by the Nigeria Police on the removal of the barriers on the bridge aimed at preventing trucks from ascending the bridge.
Also, on Tuesday, 31st January, 2023, two persons were confirmed dead after a Premium Motor Spirit (PMS)-laden truck ran into tricycles around Ikotun area of Lagos after experiencing brake failure.
The director, Public Affairs and Enlightenment Department, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Taofiq Adebayo, disclosed to LEADERSHIP that four other persons were rescued at the accident scene.
The accident, which occurred around 12:30 pm on Tuesday, involved a fully loaded tanker with registration number JJJ 125 and four tricycles with registration numbers LSD 83 QM, AKD 690 QK, and AKL 87 QF respectively.
Adebayo, however, stated that the driver of one of the tricycles and a passenger died instantly in the accident.
According to him, of the four rescued victims by LASTMA personnel, were two pregnant women and two children.
He said, “LASTMA personnel immediately handed over those rescued victims to Policemen from Ikotun Police Station who took them to General Hospital for treatment.
“A preliminary investigation revealed that the fully loaded container truck (JJJ 125) had a brake failure and crushed 3 tricycles by a valley around synagogue when going towards Ikotun.
“The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) immediately moved the tanker with those crushed tricycles to Ikotun Police Station.
“Other emergency responders including the Nigerian Policemen from Ikotun Police Station were at the scene of the accident.”
However, the one that made tongues wag and send fear down the spines of the federal and state government was the truck accident that happened at Ojuelegba where 9 persons were killed.
This was because the Sunday accident was a repeat of truck accidents that have claimed several lives and properties across the stretch of roads leading out of the busiest Port in Nigeria -Apapa and Tin-Can Island.
To put an end to the frequent accidents on the Ojuelegba bridge, the governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said the accident at the Ojuelegba bridge would be thoroughly investigated in other to forestall further occurrences.
The commissioner for transportation, Frederic Oladeinde, said the government is working with the federal government to install barricades on the bridge.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
He said that the government would continue to implement its transport master plan, which had safety strategies that would ensure safer roads.
Also, the Management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), said it would begin strict implementation of the Minimum Safety Standards (MSS) for trucks exiting the nation’s seaports
Commiserating with families of the nine victims, NPA said truck owners have resisted the stiff enforcement of the MSS
The NPA management, however, ordered a full-scale investigation to ascertain the source of the container linked to last Sunday’s accident that claimed nine lives in Lagos.
“This very sad incident further justifies the need for the full enforcement of the Minimum Safety Standards (MSS) for trucks, which the Nigerian Ports Authority has articulated enforcing, albeit with stiff resistance from some truck owners.
“The Authority is poised more than ever before, in partnership with the Lagos State government and the Federal Road Safety Corps, to fully enforce these Minimum Safety Standards for trucks and impose stiffer penalties on truck drivers and owners to forestall a reoccurrence and serve as deterrence to those who operate in breach.
“As a result of the foregoing and to avoid the recurrence of these tragic incidents and truck breakdowns on the highway, the Authority will convene a broad stakeholder engagement with truck owners, terminal operators, and off-dock workers at various locations to streamline the activities of these trucks and reiterate zero tolerance for violations of the minimum safety standards.
“There is, however, an ongoing investigation to track the container loading port and terminal to establish a failure to adhere to best practices in articulated vehicle management. The Authority assures the general public that whoever is responsible for this breach of procedure will face the harshest sanctions.
“In order to protect against the loss of lives and properties due to these avoidable accidents, the Authority will fully enforce the minimum safety standards for trucks in all the ports, particularly in Lagos, where these needless accidents are becoming commonplace. May the souls of the departed rest in peace.”