Tanker crushes 27 people to death in Lagos


At least one person was killed and several others were injured on Tuesday when a petrol-laden tanker crushed three tricycles in the Ikotun area of Lagos State.

The tanker, with number plate JJJ 125, was descending a sloppy section of the road inward Ikotun Market when its brake failed.

An eyewitness, Dare Samson, said the tanker driver lost control when he got to the Synagogue Church end of the road.

He said, “Tricycle operators usually make a U-turn shortly after the Synagogue Church back to Egbe. By the time the affected tricycles were about to drop off their passengers, the tanker driver, who had lost control of the vehicle when he got to Synagogue, rammed into them.”

Another eyewitness, Mojisola Ajisafe, said the driver was not speeding when the incident happened.

Ajisafe said, “I was on the other side of the road when the tanker was heading towards the traffic light. No one thought the brake had failed as it was not moving fast; the fatalities would have been more than this. Four people were quickly pulled out of the tricycles, including a pregnant woman who was unconscious; she was taken to a hospital.”

The spokesperson for the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, Adebayo Taofiq, confirmed the incident.

Taofiq, in a statement, said officers of the agency handed over those rescued to the police, who took them to a general hospital for treatment.

The statement read, “A preliminary investigation revealed that the fully loaded container tanker (JJJ 125) had a brake failure and crushed three tricycles by a valley around Synagogue Church when going towards Ikotun.

“The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency immediately moved the tanker with those crushed tricycles to the Ikotun Police Station.

“Other emergency responders, including the Nigeria police from the Ikotun Police Station, were at the scene of the accident.

“The General Manager of LASTMA, Mr Bolaji Oreagba, has warned tanker owners and drivers to always ensure that their trucks are properly checked and in good condition before embarking on any journey.”

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, confirmed one death.

He said, “One person died and three persons were injured. The driver has been arrested and investigation is ongoing.”

Container accidents

Meanwhile, no fewer than 27 lives have been lost in 23 crashes involving containerised trucks between January 2021 and January 2023.

Findings by our correspondent showed that in 2021, 10 containers fell on vehicles and 10 incidents were recorded in 2022, while three had so far occurred in 2023.

Further checks revealed that Lagos recorded 15 incidents; Ogun, three; Rivers, two; Abia, Oyo and Kwara recorded one each.

Lagos had the highest number of casualties with 15 dead; Ogun, four; Rivers, three; Oyo, three; Kwara and Abia, one, respectively.

On January 29, 2023, an auto accident involving a truck claimed the lives of nine passengers in the Ojuelegba area of Lagos state.

The crash occurred when the 20-foot container being conveyed by the truck landed on a commercial bus, which was picking up passengers.

On 13 October 2022, three persons lost their lives when a truck carrying a 40-foot container fell and knocked two vehicles into a river at the Eleme axis of the East-West Road in Rivers State.

On September 7, a truck fell on a tricycle popularly referred to as Keke Napep, killing its three occupants instantly and leaving others trapped in Ogun State.

Speaking on Tuesday, the Chief Executive Officer of Professional Driving and Safety Academy, Jide Owatunmise, blamed poor training for the rising road carnage caused by truck drivers.

Owatunmise said, “An individual that is having an articulated vehicle cannot be told that he needs training or his truck needs maintenance because he cannot be tracked. If it is a company’s truck that caused harm, law enforcement can easily reach out to the management of the company for questioning and if they fail to admit, the company can be penalised.

“Also, 99 per cent of drivers lack knowledge of vehicle dynamics. Forget the fact that FRSC and VIO have been organising training; these drivers have not been trained in vehicle dynamics because if they have the knowledge, they will be mindful of overloading and speed.

“Fatigue has been a major problem because they are given targets by their employers which they must meet. There are tendencies that they may fall asleep while driving. Sometimes, they take drugs just to keep awake.”

Also, a road safety expert, Ayomide Akinpelu, blamed law enforcement agencies for not living up to expectations.

Akinpelu said, “The issue of trucks not properly maintained has to do with law enforcement. There was a time when it was enforced that trailers or trucks should not move during the daytime. They were timed but from the look of it, the law is not being followed and law enforcers such as the police, VIO and FRSC are not doing enough to enforce this rule.

“If you look at these trucks or trailers, they are owned by big men who make it difficult for the law enforcers to sanction them. The trucks are not properly maintained and the recklessness of the drivers is also well known. We do not even know if the victims’ families are compensated.”

When asked the number of truck drivers jailed or prosecuted for causing the deaths of commuters, the spokesperson for the Federal Road Safety Corps, Bisi Kazeem, said, “None has been jailed. However, few of the cases are being prosecuted in court.”

However, the Lagos State Government said a driver, Sodiq Okanlawon, and one Wasiu Lekan, the owner of a container which killed three people on July 26, 2020, on the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, Ilasamaja, were convicted on February 28, 2022, and sentenced to life imprisonment by Justice Okikiolu Ighile.