Chidimma Deedee Ajoku, a staff of Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) lost her life on July 26th alongside her colleague on a commuter bus as a reckless container – laden trailer fell on the bus and snuffed out the life of a promising 27 year old.
Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria is disturbed by the prevalence of container truck accidents and carnage on Lagos roads. We join a mother to mourn the untimely death of her 27 year old daughter, who died alongside her colleague.
She was a graduate of Babcock University and worked for the Federal Airport Authority (FAAN) Nigeria until her death.
She had hoped on advancing her career with an international Master’s Degree but, that was cut short by a killer truck on a Lagos road. Miss Deedee Ajoku went to work but never came back!
Her mother had to identify her corpse in a morgue. What a loss!
In the same week, on Tuesday 28th July 2020, as WISTA Nigeria was holding a webinar meeting, news filtered in of a boat mishap involving a fibre boat, Mount Zion, which collided with a barge in the Kirikiri channel.
That incident took the life of Miss Zainab, a young promising girl and former IT Intern with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
WISTA Nigeria wishes to express our sadness at the death of these two young and promising Nigerians, whose lives were cut short by that container accident and boat mishap.
We understand that prior to those unfortunate incidents, NIMASA had met with Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) to collaborate toward safer and more secure maritime domain.
WISTA Nigeria joins other well-meaning Nigerians to bemoan the menace of container-laden trucks on Lagos roads. The deaths are increasing in torrential numbers as every other day, Lagos residents wake up to the gory sight of mangled bodies trapped underneath the crushing weight of container-laden truck or news of capsized boats on our waterways.
We call out the relevant Authorities to please live up to their responsibilities.
Daily on Lagos roads, you see rickety articulated trailers bearing unlatched containers waiting to fall and kill citizens. Most of the time, these containers are placed on flatbeds with no fittings to prevent them from sliding off.
Many motorists and pedestrians have been killed or injured by rampaging truck drivers. The death rate is horrendous.
According to PM News sources, on January 23 2015, a middle-aged
Woman, Anthonia and her son, Chibuzor, were crushed to death after an unlatched container fell on them by Ketu Bus stop, where they waited to board a vehicle to Mile 12.
And on April 5, 2015, another container crushed four persons by Agric Bus stop, Ikorodu.
Olabisi Onabanjo University was thrown into mourning on June 27, 2015, following the death of 14 students in a fatal accident at Ilisan Remo, close to Sagamu, Ogun State, when a container fell on a bus conveying them to Lagos.
On September 8, 2015, motorists and residents witnessed the brutal death of a middle-aged man, crushed to death by a container-laden truck on top speed as he made to cross Okoduwa Street, in Kirikiri Industrial Layout.
On June 7, 2013, a man was crushed to death by a container at Ikeja-Along Bus Stop, while another heavily loaded 40-foot container fell on a government meat van, crushing a passer-by and wounding several others on the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway.
The passerby was later identified as a manager with a top mobile phone dealer in Ikeja. The Christmas day of 2013 saw no fewer than 10 persons killed when a container fell on a commercial bus along the Alaba-Suru area of Lagos State.
Earlier, on July 25, 2012, a young lady was killed at the Berger end of the Lagos/Ibadan expressway when a container slipped off the back of a truck and fell on her. In November 21, three persons riding in a Mazda car lost their lives in similar fashion along the Badagary-Seme Expressway.
The sad memory of the agonizing death of a motorist, his wife and two-month old baby crushed to death by a container at Ijesha Bus Stop in 2010, remains fresh in the minds of those that witnessed it.
At Ojuelegba area in September 2, 2015, the life a Bureau de Change operator and his friends were killed by a fully loaded 40-feet container that skidded off the bridge, landing on their black Toyota Sports Utility Vehicle.
A few years ago, Lagos residents were greeted with the news in Ojota Bus stop of one Pastor Charles and his two sons who were crushed by 40-feet container with two church workers as they were returning from the Redeemed monthly Holy Ghost Service.
These are instances of unending tragedies caused by container-laden trucks sending Nigerian citizens to an early grave.
In January 2017, the social media was abuzz with the gory picture of a beautiful young lady whose legs were trapped under a container by Durbar Bus Stop, along the Lagos-Badagry Expressway. She was removed from under the container by a passer-by, who had to chop off her trapped legs from the knees, so she could be taken to the hospital. Unfortunately, she bled to death minutes later. The question is, where was Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA)?
WISTA Nigeria is hereby calling on the relevant Agencies to stop these unsavoury happenings.
We urge relevant government authorities to act immediately and curb the menace posed by these trucks and unregulated fibre boat owners. Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) should strengthen their enforcement and collaboration with sister agencies to protect and effectively regulate the waterways.
In the same vein, we call for haste in the ongoing repairs on most Lagos roads. We call on safety and law enforcement agencies to effectively enforce safety regulations on container-bearing trucks.
These urgent calls have become necessary as bad roads, unregulated trucks have caused increased unnecessary deaths and distress across the country especially in Lagos State.
Most of these containers are usually tilted to one end and not properly fastened, while most just sit dangerously threatening to slide off when the truck attempts to climb a slope or is driven through Lagos bad roads.
Enough of accusing fingers pointing at one law enforcement Agency against the other. We demand strengthened interagency collaboration to curb the menace. We demand that officers caught aiding drivers’ lawlessness with bribery and corruption be prosecuted.
We call out the Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Commission, (FRSC), and other relevant authorities to please check the recklessness of trucks and tanker drivers.
WISTA Nigeria demand for improved traffic enforcement and regulations not only in Lagos, but across the country.
The Lagos State government should ensure strict enforcement of the Lagos State Road Traffic Law 2012, which restricts trailers and other long vehicles from plying the metropolis between the hours of 6am and 9pm.
It should through its Ministry of Transportation put in place strategies to monitor activities of drivers of articulated vehicles, including a special enforcement squad to monitor their movement and impound rickety trucks at the exit points of the seaports.
The 2012 Lagos Traffic Law should be effectively enforced. According to Section 2, subsections 1 and 2 of the traffic law: “No trailer other than petrol tankers and long vehicles used in conveying passengers shall enter into or travel within the metropolis of Lagos between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Penalties and sanctions for noncompliance should be enforced as a deterrent to drivers of such trailer owners. They should be prosecuted for criminal negligence and gross dereliction of responsibility when arrested during the restricted hours and after causing deaths.
The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) should be equipped for road accident emergencies.
WISTA Nigeria is asking, should relevant authorities continue to withhold penalties on defaulters because of blackmail by truck drivers who often threaten to embark on indefinite strikes if restricted? Should we continue to allow unabated carnage in our roads?
Should we continue to allow a trail of tears and sorrow due to negligence?
Should we continue to ignore bloodbath of innocent citizens who lose their lives to preventable truck accidents?
Let us be mindful that Lagos motorists go through the hazard of daylight robberies by hoodlums, damaged and closed motorways due to slow paced repairs, therefore it is only human that relevant authorities effectively ensure safety of motorists.
When authorities live up to their duties, daily container accidents which are being exponentially recorded on our roads will be reduced and in no distant time be totally eradicated.
Possible solutions to abate further accidents:
Many factors have been adduced for these avoidable occurrences ranging from the accusation that the truck drivers are usually under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
We urge Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to ensure that before a container-laden trailer leaves the port, the physical conditions are assured and appropriate latching is enforced. In addition, the culpability of security agents who are accused of bribery should be investigated and addressed.
On the other hand, enforcement Agencies and relevant regulatory Authorities and operatives like the FRSC, Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS) and Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), which are statutorily charged with the responsibility of ensuring safety on our roads should check trucks that are not road worthy. They should mandate all articulated vehicles to have pointers, brake, rear lights, C-caution etc. We must stop underage motor boys and apprentices from driving trucks.
Government should prosecute officers engaged in high level extortion from drivers and impound rickety container trucks accordingly. We must have the courage to prosecute drunk drivers and those high on narcotics.
The Federal Ministry of Transportation should collaborate with various professional bodies in the industry to develop a viable inter modal transport system especially our waterways a functional railway system.
The deplorable condition of many Lagos roads is a factor. Authorities should therefore quicken repairs of bad roads and improve road maintenance culture.
The Nigeria Customs Service should stop the entry of right-hand trucks into the country which are later converted by artisans whose expertise are questionable.
WISTA Nigeria requests that the Nigeria Police Force investigate and ensure that the run-away truck driver who sent Miss Ajoku to her early grave is apprehended and proper investigation carried out to give succour to her mother who lost her dear husband last March.
May her gentle soul ? rest in peace and may God Almighty continue to comfort and console the family she left behind in Jesus mighty name ?? Amen
The govt should take control of the containers and plan for more safety measures to avert this type of occurrence.