#Editorial

Lagos Train/BRT Accident

IT is sad when avoidable accidents take place, such as when the fault comes from a driver who intentionally and perilously  disobey traffic signs or ignores the approach of another vehicle, and a collision takes place due to carelessness. It is more sad when several people get injured or end up dead due to the avoidable incident, making the Nigeria Police, Civil Defence, National Emergency Management Agency and Federal Road Safety agencies and official involved  to gather and evacuate the victims.

WHAT bring these sad occurrences to mind relates to a recent accident involving a moving train and a Lagos State Government staff bus at Shogunle area in Ikeja, Lagos, when no fewer than seven persons died, with many others sustaining injuries. One of the survivors of the accident revealed that the passengers of the bus cautioned the driver against entering the track of the incoming train, saying it might lead to injuries, but the driver ignored the cautious messages given to him and went ahead with his intention.Midway into the rail track, before he could finish crossing the area, the train rammed into the bus, causing the avoidable incident, with many people sustaining various degrees of injuries  and being rushed to the Lagos State Teaching Hospital.Eighty-five workers of the state government got involved in the incident, 42 with moderate injuries, 29 with serious injuries with eight having mild injuries during the incident.

THE Hope sympathises with the victim of the accident, families of the dead and the government of Lagos State in an incident that could have been avoided if the driver of the BRT bus had listened to the cautious advice given by the bus passengers. Before the present administration began its initiative toward reviving rail infrastructure in the country, unseemly things such as outdated signaling system, dilapidated tracks and poorly maintained rolling stocks characterized the rail sector.

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TO  illustrate the unseemly things in the sector, bus drivers usually ignored signaling objects when approaching rail tracks, thinking they could make a passage long before the arrival of trains, but due to mechanical faults related to their vehicles, they fail to do this.

UNFORTUNATELY, the national rail system shows other unseemly characters in the absence of flyovers above rail tracks, or lack of underground package across railway lines, meaning line and road meet at intersections.A combination of the absence of flyovers, underground passages, the recklessness of  drivers and the outdated nature of the nation’s rail system cause unseemly accidents to happen.

IN 2018 over 500 accidents took place in Nigeria, with 222 accidents occasioned by the loss of control or locomotive failures, causing mental and physical challenges months and years after the incident, as the implications take place long after accidents.

IN 2019, at the Ashade railway crossing around Agege, Ikeja Lagos, an accident occurred  when a train skidded off its tracks, killed one person and causing destruction to properties.1n 2020, before the COVID-19 lock down, an accident took place near the Nigerian Army Shopping Arena in Oshodi, involving a moving train, a car and a bus, causing the loss of the life of a trader and injury to his son.

THE Hope frowns at the loss of  innocent lives occasioned by   train accidents in the country, the loss of properties that take place during the incident and the mental and physical challenges months and years after the occurrence of train accidents.

CONSEQUENTLY, the government should sensitise bus drivers against taking unnecessary risks and obeying instruction of signaling systems and listening to the advice of their passengers. The Lagos Government should also train and retrain BRT drivers, occasionally subjecting them to psycological tests, to determine the level of their mental health, to forestall future accidents.

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THE federal government should also carry out an upgrade of the nation’s rail infrastructure by improving signaling systems, dilapidated trackers and poorly maintained rolling stocks.

WHILE we commend the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) on initiatives to build flyovers and underground packages across rail lines, it should expedite action on the project.The management of BRT and insurance companies should pay compensation to victims. It is hoped that train related accidents will be a thing of the past when flyovers get built over rail lines through upgrades in rail infrastructure and bus drivers become more responsible.

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