Lagos Declares 3 Days Of Mourning Over Train-Govt Staff Bus Collision

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Train BRT accident

Rescue works at the train-bus collision scene Ikeja, the Lagos State capital, South-West Nigeria … Thursday. IMAGE SOURCE, PM NEWS

Keeping the world updated about the tragic incident that occurred Thursday morning, and has kept attention locked into it, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has declared three days of mourning in the state for the victims of a morning collision between a train and a big volume bus conveying the state’s workers.

The unfortunate incident reportedly involved a Viale Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) bus with an unknown registration number carrying Lagos State Government workers to work and a train headed to Iddo Terminus, Lagos, from Ijoko, Ogun State.

The accident had occurred at the PWD Bus Stop, off Old Works Road in Ikeja, the Lagos State capital, on Thursday morning.

Even as official investigations are not yet done, the immediate cause of the accident had been ascribed as alleged reckless driving on the part of the BRT bus driver.

It was alleged that he was trying to beat the train traffic signal, consequently, the moving train rammed into the bus.

Sanwo-Olu, who visited the health facilities where the victims were being treated, said that two persons died at the scene of the accident and four at the hospital.

In a Facebook post, he stated: “I was at LASUTH (Lagos State University Teaching Hospital) to understand the condition of the victims of the bus/train accident.

“The team at LASUTH expertly setup an outdoor triage centre which has contributed in saving lives, speeding up injury level profiling and supporting immediate critical action.

“This was a totally avoidable incident that simply required patience and the need to follow proper transportation protocol.

“There were 85 pax on board the bus with 6 deaths, 42 moderate injuries, 29 serious and 8 mild injuries according to the LASUTH classification scale.

“Lagos is in a state of mourning and for the next three days, I am suspending all campaign activities. All flags will be flown at half-mast and tomorrow all civil servants will work till 12 noon before returning home to be with their loved ones during this trying time.

“It is still a critical period for some of the patients as we continue to call for blood donations across different state government medical facilities.

“This is a call for our humanity to rise above all. I also thank LASEMA (Lagos State Emergency Management Agency), the security agencies, staff and students of LASUTH for rising up to the occasion as soon as this unfortunate incident happened.”

Apart from the incumbent Lagos State Chief Executive, who is seeking reelection on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), two other leading governorship candidates in Lagos State on Thursday also each paid their respective separate visits to the train crash victims at LASUTH.

Labour Party (LP) Governorship Candidate Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, also known as GRV; and that of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Olajide Adediran, aka Jandor, also visited the injured victims at the hospital.

Messrs. Sanwao-Olu, Rhodes-Vivour and Adediran had each reflected in their countenances, words and actions empathised and sympathised with the injured persons who are receiving treatment in the hospital.

Giving a situation report on the accident, Dr. Olufemi  Oke-Osanyintolu, Permanent Secretary, LASEMA, Dr. Olufemi  Oke-Osanyintolu, said that on arrival at the scene, the agency’s response team discovered that a Viale BRT bus with an unknown registration number and a train were involved in an accident at the said location.

He said: “Investigation gathered revealed that the immediate cause of the incident was due to reckless driving on the part of the BRT bus driver while trying to beat the train traffic signal before the moving train rammed into the BRT bus.

“Unfortunately, two adults were confirmed dead and several people seriously injured.

“The injured victims have been administered first aid treatment by the agency’s medical team (paramedics) and LASAMBUS (Lagos State Ambulance Service) officials, were stabilised and being transported to trauma centre at LASUTH, Ikeja for further treatment.

“The agency’s LRT at Cappa alongside LRT at C3, LRU paramedics at C3, Onipanu, Cappa, LASAMBUS officials, Nigeria Police Force, LASTMA (Lagos State Traffic Management Authority), LNSC (Lagos Neighbourhood Security Corps) and Nigerian Army are responders present at the scene of incident.”

The Director, Public Affairs and Enlightenment Department, LASTMA, Mr. Taofiq, Adebayo, had said in a statement that a Lagos State Government staff bus was crushed by a moving train at PWD, Ikeja.
The LASTMA spokesperson said that, though the bus involved in the crash is the same as the regular BRT buses in the state, the bus was a staff bus of the Lagos State Government.
Adebayo gave the registration number of the ill-fated staff bus as 04A- 48LA,
According to him, the enforcement officers of LASTMA were the first emergency responders at the scene of the accident.
Adebayo explained that those LASTMA operatives subsequently called other emergency responders to join in the rescue.
He said that the accident recorded some casualties, noting that the staff bus was fully loaded with government staff going to their offices in the morning.

One of the survivors of the accident, simply called Titilayo, who was a passenger in the bus, alleged that the passengers had begged the bus driver to wait for the train to pass, before proceeding, but he refused.

This middle-aged female staff of LASUTH, Ikeja, who sustained injuries on her lower limbs, said: “I boarded the staff bus while going to work this morning (yesterday).

“The incident happened around 7:15 AM. When we got to the intersection at PWD in Ikeja, the driver continued driving.

“Passengers inside the bus, including myself, begged him to wait for the train to pass before crossing, but he didn’t listen.

“Midway, just before he could finish crossing the rail tracks, the accident happened. Many of us were rushed here, while five others were taken to Gbagada General Hospital.”

While two adults were confirmed dead at the scene, several others suffered varying degrees of injuries.

The number of the dead rose to six when four persons among the seriously injured passed on at the hospital.

The Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr. Fidet Okhiria, on Thursday gave an account of the brief he got on the accident involving a train and a bus earlier in the day.
Okhiria told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos: “According to the information I gathered at the scene of the incident, they said many cars stopped when they got to the level crossing while the Lagos State Staff Bus driver continued moving, which I don’t know why.
” Maybe the driver thought he could pass before the train got nearer to him. He could not pass, then the train crushed the bus; that is what we gathered.
“The train was coming from Ijoko to Iddo.”
The NRC boss urged Lagos drivers to be more careful when passing through the level crossing, to avoid train accidents.
Expressing concern about the lives of the Lagos State staff, he appealed to motorists to consider the level crossing at all times.

Okhiria said that when motorists get to the level crossing, they should not ignore the point where they should stop.

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Commander of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Babatunde Farinloye, has advised the NRC to install iron bars at railway level crossings to prevent trains from running into vehicles as has been the case in recent times.

Reacting to the Thursday train accident, the Sector Commander noted that there used to be iron bars at railway crossings that were dropped when a train was in motion thereby preventing vehicles and pedestrians from using the crossing.

He noted that, hitherto, there is usually advance warning at the crossings, such as horning, signaling that a train was passing, but that such was no longer practiced.

Blaming the disappearance of these facilities on the activities of vandal, he stressed that the NRC must install bars at rail crossings as well as ensure that advanced warnings are given when a train is passing to avoid future occurrences.

The Sector Commander, who visited scene of the crash with other senior security officials and the Lagos State Governor, said that the driver of the bus should be prosecuted if found guilty and his driver’s license revoked.

He said that eyewitness account has it that the accident was as a result of wrongful overtaking by the bus driver as his bus got hooked on the rail line.

In a related development, Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika has directed Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) experts to commence immediate investigation into the accident.

In a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Affairs, James Odaudu, the Minister described the accident as unfortunate, and assured the public of the capacity of the NSIB to unravel the immediate and remote causes of the accident and proffer ways of preventing such in the future.

He solicited the cooperation of members of the public as investigation by the NSIB team commences.

He commiserated with the government and people of Lagos, especially those who have lost their loved ones, on the sad event, and prayed for the quick recovery of those injured in the accident.

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