The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency and the Nigerian Railway Corporation have placed the blame for a fatal train accident that occurred in the PWD area of the state on Thursday on the driver of a Lagos State Government worker vehicle. Six people were killed and 96 were injured.
At the PWD rail crossing, off the Lagos-Abeokuta Highway, a passenger train collided with a fully laden staff vehicle owned by the Lagos State Government, causing the tragedy to strike in Lagos just before 8 am on Thursday.
Dr. Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, the Permanent Secretary of LASEMA, said to reporters that the bus driver disregarded the NRC officials’ signals because he was impatient to cross the rail.
Also, the NRC claimed in a statement issued by its Deputy Director for Public Affairs, Yakub Mahmood, that the bus disobeyed a command from corporation authorities by passing other vehicles that were waiting for the train to pass.
An investigation into the accident has been mandated by the federal government.
The unfortunate bus, which had the registration number 04A-48LA, was traveling from the Government Residential Area in Ikeja to the state office in Alausa when it struck the train at the PWD rail crossing.
The railway was reported to be traveling to Ido from Ijoko, Ogun State, while the bus was stated to be arriving from Isolo.
Witnesses claim that from PWD to Sogunle, the railway dragged the bus down its rail for roughly 100 meters before becoming trapped.
Some terrified bus passengers reportedly made hasty attempts to jump off the vehicle as it was being pulled by the train, especially those near the exit doors.
By the time the bus and train eventually came to a halt on the track, the passengers were stumbling over one another trying to exit the stranded vehicle.
While other passengers suffered injuries of varying severity, it was reported that two people passed away instantly.
The victims were rescued by emergency personnel dispatched to the scene, who then took them to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital in Ikeja.
The train pushed the bus for about 100 meters before coming to a stop, according to Augustine Arisa, Chief Mechanical Engineer and Lagos District Manager for Nigeria Railway Corporation.
This, according to him, is because of the high speed of the train.
Arisa disclosed this in an interview with one of our correspondents at the scene of the accident.
He noted that at 7.50 am, he received a distress call from one of the drivers of the NRC, alerting him of a train-bus accident at the Shogunle Level Crossing.
Arisa said, “At 7.50 am, we got a distress call from our driver that there has been an accident at the Shogunle Level Crossing.
“On further interaction, we found out that the level-crossing keeper was there. The LCK is the man with the red and yellow flags at all times at the level crossing.
“If he gives you the red flag, you are to stop. If he gives you the yellow flag, you are to move with caution. If he gives the yellow flag to the train driver, that means he has asked the train driver to start coming.
“With that, the train driver has the confidence that the rail is clear for him to drive through. This simply means all buses should wait and not move till the yellow flag is given to them. With that, the train driver has the confidence that the rail is clear for him to drive through.”