Lagos train, BRT crash: Sanwo-Olu suspends campaign, declares 3-day mourning, Tinubu, Gbajabiamila, Jandor mourn

Death toll in Thursday’s accident involving a train and a Lagos state staff bus rose to six while several others sustained serious injuries.

The bus number 33, one of the fleets of the state government staff buses, was coming from Isolo on Thursday morning at 7:30am heading to Alausa.

At the PWD rail crossing, the driver attempted to make a dangerous turning but was caught up with the incoming train which dragged it to another spot.

Specifically, the accident occurred between the Shogunle and Ikeja axis when the staff bus veered into the rail track and was crushed by an oncoming train.

Eighty-five passengers were said to be onboard the bus when it was hit by the train. Forty-four passengers had moderate injuries, while twenty-nine passengers had serious injuries and 8 passengers had mild injuries

Speaking with journalists at LASUTH, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said four of the victims were confirmed dead at the hospital.

This is in addition to the two persons who were earlier confirmed dead at the accident scene.

The governor said blood donors were needed for the victims while calling on Lagos residents to come to their aid.

“I am deeply saddened by the news of the train/bus accident. The vehicle was conveying staff of the Lagos state government, our staff who serve the state in different capacities. Let’s say a prayer for the families and a prayer of mercy and protection for our state,” the tweet reads.

“My thoughts are with the victims and their families during this difficult time. A big thank you to well-meaning Lagosians who immediately joined in rescue efforts. Our first responders and emergency services are on ground and we will share more information shortly.”

Director, Public Affairs and Enlightenment of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Adebayo Taofiq, stated that “LASTMA enforcement officers who were the first emergency responders at the scene of the accident had called other emergency responders and at present rescue activities are currently on-going.”

According to LASEMA source, scores of the passengers wounded were taken to hospitals for free medical attention and treatment within the next 24 hours.

NRC reacts
Also reacting to the crash, Managing Director Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiria said the bus driver is to be blamed for the accident.

Okhiria said the driver attempted to cross the rail tracks and beat the train, urging Lagos drivers to be careful when driving through the level crossing.

“According to the information I gathered at the scene of the incident, they said many cars stopped when they got to the level crossing while the Lagos State Staff Bus driver continued moving, which I don’t know why,” the NRC boss said.

“Maybe the driver thought he could pass before the train got nearer to him. He could not pass, and then the train crushed the bus; that is what we gathered.”

Sanwo-Olu suspends campaign

Meanwhile, Governor Sanwo-Olu has declared a three-day mourning for those who lost their lives in the BRT train accident.

Sanwo-Olu also announced suspension of all political campaigns and ordered half day work for state workers starting from Friday, beginning from 12pm.

He also ordered flag to be flown at half-mast.

The governor also thanked the governorship candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Abdul-Azeez Olajide Adediran (JANDOR), and that of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Rhodes-Vivour for visiting the scene of the accident.

Bus driver arrested

Meanwhile, the police have arrested the driver of the BRT Bus.

Commissioner of Police Railway Command Yetunde Longe said this Thursday in an interview with journalists in Lagos.

She said the driver was presently undergoing psychiatric, physiological and drug test.

The driver, who was brought to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, was later led into the TB Diagnosis Centre to carry out the test on him.

The CP also said they were investigating the number of people that died in the crash, adding that autopsy would be conducted on the remains of the victims Friday.

She said: “Presently we are with the driver, we are handing over for medical examination, because there was flag officer at the railway crossing flagging him down, but he refused to stop. That’s why we must subject him to through medical examination. I can only confirm two dead now.

“As a driver this is one of the tests you have to take note of, because when you get to a level crossing, the train will be honking for people to know it is coming. Drivers should ensure they are patient until the train passes.”

When asked why there was no barrier at the level crossing, she said, “Unfortunately, now we don’t have such thing there but there is a signal man who always raises the red flag, he did it this morning before the incident happened but the driver never obeyed the signal man.

“The driver if found culpable would be prosecuted and we are working with the state department of public prosecution, they are gathering evidence to prosecute him. The driver has been arrested and he in our custody.”

PDP guber candidate reacts

In his reaction, the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos state, Dr. Abdul-Azeez Olajide Adediran (JANDOR), tasked the state government on the need to provide barriers at roads leading to rail lines to prevent accidents.
Adediran stated this Thursday during a visit to the scene of the accident.  

Jandor, one of our correspondents gathered, was later denied entry into the Ikeja General Hospital to see the victims of the incident, describing the train incident as sad, and unbecoming of a cosmopolitan state like Lagos.

“The incident is so sad. I think it’s about time we began to have barriers that would stop vehicles when trains are coming.

“This is a kind of responsibility for the government. We cannot continue like this, there should be a barrier on the rail line, when trains are coming.

“I’m sure we are going to get it right, I will be going to the hospital to see the victims so that we know how to provide succuor to them.

“This is getting too much, we saw the fire incident that occurred in a market in Ajeromi Ifelodun Local Government yesterday (Wednesday) and I would be going there too to see the level of damages.

“We will get it right as a government. We should prevent vehicles from passing, when trains are coming,” he said.

Gbajabiamila mourns

Also, Speaker House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila described as regrettable the Ikeja bus/train accident. 

The speaker, who said the accident was avoidable, expressed grief that innocent lives of people going about their legitimate business were lost during the incident.

He sent his condolences to families of the victims, the people and government of Lagos state over the incident.

He prayed for the repose of the souls of those that lost their lives and quick recovery for the injured.

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