Lagos accident saddens Buhari as survivors blame bus driver
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has mourned the deaths of six people and sympathised with other victims of a Lagos train accident, as survivors blamed a bus driver’ recklessness for causing the crash.
The accident, which occurred in the early morning hours of Thursday at Shogunle area of Ikeja in Lagos, involved a train and a Lagos state bus rapid transport (BRT) vehicle carrying workers.
Expressing dismay over the accident in which dozens were injured, President Buhari said that the crash was distressing and extremely sad.
“The accident at the level crossing involving the train and the BRT staff bus is distressing and extremely sad. I pray for the souls of the deceased and quick recovery of the many who were injured,’’ he said in the statement.
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The bus driver, who turned himself up to the police, had been blamed for the accident by the survivors who complained that he ignored their caution not to cross the rail line.
The victims spoke from their hospital beds in Ikeja where they were receiving treatment.
Saw train coming
Mr Kazeem Abiola, wearing a neck brace, said he sat near the entry door. He also said he and a few others saw the train coming while they were still on Agege Motor Road.
He added that the driver thought he could drive past the crossing line before the train got to the interchange.
“We warned him to allow the train to leave before crossing but he was adamant.”
“Everybody shouted and cautioned him, but he was unmoved. The bus had crossed the rail track halfway before the train hit us.”
“I knew nothing again until I found myself here at the hospital,” he said.
Mr Anuoluwapo Musa, a staff of the Lagos State Emergency Maintenance Agency (Lasema) and also a survivor, said he jumped out of the bus immediately it was hit by the train.
“I was at the back when the incident occurred. I just heard noise from the front rolls cautioning the driver. Not quite long after, we were hit by the train. I was conscious enough to jump out of the bus while the train was still dragging our bus,” he said.
Another survivor, Mrs Alabi Owoeye, said the driver had an earphone on and did not heed the cautions of the passengers.
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Lagos governor visits victims
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State declared three days of mourning for the accident victims and visited the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (Lasuth) in Ikeja to check on the survivors’ conditions and suspended gubernatorial election campaigns in the state.
He said a Lasuth team had set up an outdoor triage centre, which contributed to saving lives, speeding up injury level profiling and supporting immediate critical action.
According to Sanwo-Olu, the accident could have been avoided if the driver was more patient and followed proper transport protocol.
He said the bus involved was one of the 50 used by workers of the Lagos State Government, adding that the driver was already in police custody.
“There were 85 passengers on board. Six died from the accident, 42 moderately injured and 37 mildly injured,” said Lasuth.
“Some of the patients are in critical condition and we are calling for blood donations.’’ Prof Adetokunbo Fabamwo, the chief medical director of Lasuth said.
Triage in the open
However, some people criticised Lasuth for conducting triage in an open space after a video emerged on social media.
Fabamwo said that triage was an international best practice to enable health workers assess the severity of a patient’s injury.
He also attributed the criticism and misinformation circulating on social media about triage of the accident victims to the ignorance of many people about triage practice in an emergency situation.
He said that Lasuth was committed to providing quality care that would aid survivors’ quick recovery.
Meanwhile, the President of Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) Rotimi Edu assured that victims’ dependents or those who injured would be adequately compensated by the insurance industry.
The Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) has started investigating the accident.
Mr Tunji Oketunbi, the general manager of NSIB public affairs, urged the public to send information materials regarding the accident.
Such information, he said, includes pictures, video or recording evidence that would assist the bureau in conducting a comprehensive investigation.
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