By Ayo Alonge ( [email protected] )
Cries of agony rented the air at Ojota axis of Lagos when an articulated vehicle laden with plywood fell on a 14-seater commercial bus (Danfo), killing at least five people and leaving three others with grave injuries.
Consequently, neighbours and relatives of some missing persons have been plunged into confusion over the whereabouts of their own.
All occupants of the ill-fated bus were said to be heading home from the monthly Holy Ghost Service which is held at the Redeemed Christian Church of God, on Lagos/Ibadan Expressway; around 4am yesterday when the accident happened.
The truck driver, Sunday Sun learnt, wanted to overtake the bus but instead, when the accident happened, crushing the occupants.
Although the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) reported that five persons died while three survived the accident yet, the whereabouts of some occupants of the bus, dead or alive, remains unknown, plunging their relatives and neighbours into disarray.
The five corpses recovered by the agency were moved to the morgue in Ikorodu General Hospital while the three survivors, two men and a woman were rushed to the Lagos State Accident and Emergency Centre, Toll Gate, Ikeja.
While nosing around the emergency centre, our correspondent approached a group of five men who had apparently come to look for their own.
Upon quizzing the men who disclosed that they were all neighbours to the driver and four children on the bus, one of them, who would not mention his name, said “They were coming from church. Every first Friday of the month which is the monthly Holy Ghost Service of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Mr Charles takes his two children and two children of his neighbours to the camp. When we got a call that they were involved in the accident at Ojota, we immediately started making calls and moving everywhere to know their whereabouts. As I speak to you, we have been to Ikorodu where they said dead victims were taken and we were made to see five corpses but neither Mr Charles nor any of the four children was there. We have also been to LASUTH and we were told that two people were brought in. One died and one survived but we couldn’t still find our people there.
Another neighbour said “Everybody on that bus is known to us. They went to the Redemption Camp and we got a call that they had been involved in an accident.
That’s why we have been moving all around hospitals and morgues but then, it appears that they distributed the corpses and survivors across different morgues and hospitals in the state”
Sunday Sun gathered that the said Mr Charles and the four children he traveled with might have been dead too as some sympathizers that besieged the scene of the incident kept screaming “Where is Mr Charles? Where is Mr Charles?” Charles, was an Assistant Pastor in RCCG and lived at Gbagada with his family.
Medical attendants on duty would not speak to Sunday Sun, claiming that such is “against the rules without authorization ”. However, our correspondent quizzed a police officer, who reliably spoke in the capacity of an eyewitness, although on condition of anonymity.
“The accident happened around 3:30am and that was almost exactly the time we came from Alausa Police Station.
We started rescuing the victims and discovered that only three survived, out of all”, he said.
Shortly after, one of the victims who cheated death in the fatal accident, stepped out from the emergency hall, limping. Ifeanyi, as he simply introduced himself, narrated to our correspondent how it all happened.
“We were coming from Camp. Right now, I don’t have an idea of where the rest are, but I can only say that the driver and all the children on the bus with us died instantly. The lady beside me was sleeping but she was lucky, like me”,he said.
Sunday Sun gathered that the Agency’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) received a distress call regarding an accident at Ojota bus stop which prompted the immediate activation of the Agency’s ERT to the scene of the incident.
According to the General Manager of LASEMA, Mr Adesina Tiamiyu, “Investigation carried out by the ERT at the scene revealed that an articulated truck with registration number AKD 663 KF conveying 40ft container laden with plywood fell on a Volkswagen commercial bus (Danfo) with registration number FST 944 XR where the passengers were trapped.
“The prompt intervention by the LASEMA Response Unit led to the rescue of three victims who were taken to the Trauma Centre Toll Gate, while 5 dead bodies trapped in the bus were extricated by the LASEMA team and were taken to the mortuary at Ikorodu General Hospital.
“Other agencies on ground included the Nigeria Police Force led by the Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni; Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA), the Lagos State Ambulance Service (LASAMBUS), Lagos State Fire Service, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
Gridlock cripples Lagos again as flood subMerges VI, LEKKI, AJAH
By Olakunle Olafioye
After months of respite from perennial gridlocks along major roads in Lagos state, motorists and commuters are once again beginning to express their frustration as traffic snarls resurface on major roads in the state.
Similarly, residents in parts of Lagos Island reportedly fled their homes while vehicular and human movements were hampered as floods took over some major areas on the Island yesterday.
Checks by Sunday Sun indicated that major roads in the state have been witnessing traffic congestions resulting in motorists spending longer time getting to their destinations since the beginning of last week.
On Friday, July 7, most Lagosians returning home from their various workplaces had difficult time getting home as traffic gridlock crippled vehicular movement along major roads in the state.
A cab driver, Rasaq Fadahunsi, told Sunday Sun that he left Ajah area of the state some minutes past 4pm on Friday but didn’t get to his house in Alagbado area of the state until few minutes past 11pm.
Similarly, another resident who simply identified herself as Mrs. Ajayi said the journey between her house in Egbeda and Oshodi where she owns a shop now takes longer time as a result of traffic jam.
“On a normal day I spend between one and one and a half hour to get back home from my shop in Oshodi. But this has changed now because in the last few days I have discovered that it now takes me an average of about two to three hours to get back home,” she said.
Sunday Sun monitored the situation and reports that the rain has also affected some portions along major roads as potholes now dot them.
At Barliette Bus stop along the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, Sunday Sun observed long stretch of traffic which motorists attributed to a recently developed gully along the road.
Road users plying the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway yesterday appealed to traffic authorities in the state to increase their presence between Abule-Egba axis of the road and Oshodi to be able to curb the excesses of impatient motorists who hide under the ongoing construction works to flout traffic regulations.
Reacting to the development, the Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, Mr. Mahmud Hassan, denied the report that traffic jams had returned to Lagos roads.
He attributed the traffic build up noticed in the state to the rains, which according to him slow down traffic and reduces visibility for motorists.
“I do not agree with you totally that there is a return of traffic build up to Lagos roads. We are in the rainy season now and definitely when it rains it will affect the flow of traffic; motorists will not be able to move at the normal speed because the weather will be hazy and for safety reason they have to reduce the speed at which they move.
“Secondly, if there is little flood on the road it will hamper the free flow of traffic but immediately the flood subsides normalcy will return to the road.
‘‘If you are very observant, you will notice that LASTMA has been able to reduce travel time on Lagos roads because we have our men on the road for almost 20 hours daily,” Mahmud said.
In a related development, flood yesterday took over some major areas in the state making both vehicular and human movements difficult. Mostly affected are some high brow areas in Lekki where some residents were reported to have fled their homes.
The flood also reportedly caused serious gridlock around Ikoyi leading to the temporary shutdown of some major roads in the area.