‘ We are still terrified…’
• Ketu tragedy rekindles trepidation over unlatched containers
PETRIFIED by the horrifying sight of a pupil, whose skull and brain matter was splattered at the accident scene last Friday morning at the popular Ketu bus stop in Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State, renewed fears of articulated vehicles have gripped residents and commuters in the state.
The pupil, along with his mother and many others, were victims of last Friday’s accident involving two 18-seater commercial buses, a TATA bus and a truck carrying an unlatched container.
According to eyewitnesses, the container-laden vehicle in a bid to maneuvre potholes on the road, lost control and fell on two commuter buses, which were picking passengers on the highway, trapping many of the passengers inside.
Although many passengers, who sustained several degrees of injuries, were rushed to the nearby hospital for treatment, three reportedly died on the spot; and the case of the pupil, who was going to school with his mother, was most pitiable.
Up till yesterday, street traders and residents were still discussing the ugly incident in hushed tones, while many of them, who have no other means of livelihood than hawking along the busy Ikorodu Road want proactive actions against careless drivers of articulated trucks.
A fish seller at the bus stop simply identified as Iya Sikirat, said she was yet to recover from the ugly sight of witnessing the accident. She said: “I am confused and I know that many other traders are afraid too.”
Some street traders at the area, who also spoke to The Guardian, said they would consider leaving the area if there is an alternative. But a commuter, Matthew Ajie, who witnessed the incident said, the accident has brought to the fore the necessity of transport agencies to launch fresh initiatives to decisively deal with the widespread deaths and destruction being caused by drivers of articulated vehicles because of their recklessness, indiscipline and carelessness on Nigerian roads.
According to him, container-laden trucks and other articulated trucks wreak havoc on the roads, almost on a daily basis, leading to loss of lives and property in many parts of the country. “This reign of terror is unacceptable and must be stopped so that road users will heave a sigh of relief again.
“Tackling this menace does not require rocket science, what it just requires is strict implementation of the extant laws. Regrettably, lack of political will to enforce our laws, which are not even adequate and carelessness of the truck drivers have led to the death of thousands of Nigerians on the road.”
However, an official of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), who witnessed the accident and assisted in ameliorating the resultant traffic gridlock inward and outward of Ketu, hinted of plans to start impounding unlatched container-laden vehicles.
The official, who pleaded for anonymity, regretted that previous efforts to dissuade drivers of articulated vehicles from driving unlatched containers have not yielded the necessary results.
He, however, gave the assurance that recalcitrant articulated vehicle drivers and indeed, other road users will face full wrath of the law, as the enforcement of instant laws will be intensified this year.