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Train Accident: Empathy, love from political leaders, residents

By Gbenga Salau
12 March 2023   |   4:05 am
Since Thursday when the train accident that claimed six lives occurred, empathy has greatly been on display by residents and political leaders.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu (third left) commiserating with relatives of a deceased involved in the train accident, during his condolence visit to the family home in Lagos, last Friday, With him is Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola (second right).<br />

Since Thursday when the train accident that claimed six lives occurred, empathy has greatly been on display by residents and political leaders. Aside the governorship candidates of the major three political parties and the wife of the President-elect visited the scene of the accident and the victims at the health facilities, residents of the state hugely responded to the call by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to come forward to donate blood for transfusion for victims who might need it.

Within 24 hours that an appeal was made, Lagos State Blood Transfusion Service (LSBTS) was able to collect 256 units of blood from voluntary donors who heeded the call for blood donation for victims of the accident, while the state government only used 40 units of blood to stabilise patients who require blood transfusion.

And just after declaring a three-day mourning and cancelling its party’s ongoing political campaign in honour of victims of the Thursday train crash in the state, Sanwo-Olu, on Friday, followed it up with a condolence visit to the families of some persons who lost their lives in the accident.

Sanwo-Olu was accompanied on the visit by the Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, and some members of the State Executive Council to sympathise with the bereaved families.

A Lagos State government Staff bus with Number 33, carrying civil servants and some dependents from Isolo to Alausa had a head-on collision with a commercial train at PWD Bus-Stop, along Agege Motor Road.

The accident occurred when the Lagos State government staff bus was about to cross the rail track and during the process, it collided with a commercial train at the location. Six out of the 102 passengers on the bus died, while others on board the bus sustained varying degrees of injuries. The governor on the day of the incident visited the victims at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital and other facilities that the injured were being attended to.

Sanwo-Olu, who was received by the three families he visited in Jakande Estate, Oke Afa, and Ikotun areas of the state, commiserated with the bereaved families, praying for them over their irreplaceable losses. He urged them to take the death of their loved ones in good faith and see it as an act of God.

The governor visited the families of Esther Rokosu, a staff of Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS), and 54-year-old Mrs. Victoria Johnson nee Dada, a Social Welfare Officer of Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH).

He also paid a condolence visit to the home of a Youth Corps member, Miss Aina Oreoluwa Juliana, who was serving in the Ministry of Education before her untimely death. 

During the visit, prayers were offered for the deceased families, various ministries, and the state government.

Similarly, the wife of Nigeria’s President-Elect, Senator Oluremi Tinubu and the First Lady of Lagos State, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, on Friday, visited victims of the train accident at the various health facilities where they were being treated.
Tinubu and Sanwo-Olu were accompanied by the Wife of the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Oluremi Hamzat, and other senior officials of the state government, where they empathized with the victims and assessed their ongoing treatment at the health facilities.  
The hospitals visited included the General Hospital, Gbagada; Lagos State Accident and Emergency Centre, Toll Gate; and the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja.
They went on a ward round and got a first-hand briefing on the train crash and efforts to save lives.
Whilst commiserating with the patients at the Lagos State Accident and Emergency Center, Senator Tinubu came across a 23-year-old man, Osita Anazi from Ebonyi State, who was involved in an auto accident and required surgery as a result of pains arising from clinical right femoral fracture.

Senator Tinubu keenly enquired about his condition and out of compassion pleaded with the young man, who didn’t have the financial means for the surgery, to stay back in Lagos, assuring that his treatment would be sorted.  
According to her, “Lagos accommodates all citizens and prioritizes the welfare and well-being of all Nigerians.”
Besides, Tinubu and Sanwo-Olu commiserated with the families that lost their loved ones, describing the accident as unfortunate and deeply painful.  
Speaking in an interview at LASUTH, Senator Tinubu urged drivers to be more careful and work to avoid situations that can result in the loss of precious lives in the future.
“From our assessment of the situation, we can see that the patients are in good hands; they are stabilized. We are not God but we are saddened by what has happened.
“We hope that the drivers are more careful to avoid this in the future. We commiserate with the families that lost their loved ones and wish those who are here speedy recovery,” Senator Tinubu said.   
She also commended the State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and the State Government for taking care of the medical bills of all the patients, just as she presented various gift items to the victims to aid and fast-track their recovery process.

Meanwhile, before the governor visited the families of the deceased, the Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, addressed a press conference, where he adduced the low casualty figure recorded to the effective triage strategy that was put in place and carried out first by the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) and the Lagos State Ambulance Service (LASAMBUS) and secondly by the management of LASUTH.

In his words: “What we have recorded here in the hospital (LASUTH) is 102 injured persons associated with the train-bus accident, we believe most of these would have been inside the bus, but because the bus was carried for a long distance by the train, we also aware that there were persons that were injured outside of the bus. So, this is probably responsible for the higher number of persons that were brought to LASUTH for treatment.

Wife of the President-elect, Senator Oluremi Tinubu; Lagos State First Lady, Dr. (Mrs.) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu; and wife of the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Oluremi Hamzat, during a visit to various hospitals attending to victims of the Lagos Bus-Train crash, on Friday.<br />

“It is a bit too early to really get full details from most of the passengers or injured persons because a lot of them are in pain due to the moderate and severe injuries, so it is not a time to over stress them, but as they get better, we are going to collect more information from them”.
“At the moment, we have discharged 19 passengers from LASUTH, and I’m also aware that at the other hospitals where patients who have moderate to mild injuries were referred to, many of them are being prepared for discharge this morning, and the information I have now is that, at the Toll Gate Accident and Emergency Centre, they are about to discharge five in addition to the 19 that were discharged here in LASUTH and also at Orile-Agege General Hospital where we sent 10 passengers, we are about to discharge eight”, Abayomi noted.
The Commissioner who noted that he has also visited patients transferred to other government hospitals from LASUTH disclosed that all patients are stable and responding well to treatment adding that severe complications is very much unlikely as the patients have been settled to their respective wards.
He said: “I visited patients that were referred out of LASUTH yesterday, most of them were at the Toll Gate Accident and Emergency Centre, Gbagada General Hospital, General Hospital Odan-Lagos and Orile-Agege General Hospital, they were very stable; one or two of them had severe injuries and will be kept for a bit longer but by and large they are all very stable and comfortable as of yesterday evening when we visited.
“It is important to note that from about 12noon yesterday till now, we have not lost any other passenger from the accident. So, the act of triage which is very important in saving lives, has helped in reducing the casualty of the bus accident. We are not expecting any more severe complications from any one that has been triaged and settled down at respective wards or those that have been referred to other hospitals.”

“In terms of blood access, yesterday and early this morning, we were able to transfuse 40 units of blood to the victims to stabilize them, those that require blood because they are either going in for surgery or they were bleeding into their brain, chest or abdomen, we were able to save their lives with rapid access and availability safe blood.”

“We say a very big thank you to citizens of Lagos who responded in a very unusual way. Yesterday, we were able to collect 256 voluntary units of blood from sympathizers and well-wishers and we are really grateful to the public for responding in this way. In case we have more needs for blood, we are able to replenish our stock from the generous response from the community,” he said.
The commissioner, while noting that the well-coordinated responses of appropriate agencies of government has resulted in commendable efforts which ought to be applauded, thanked all those involved in the life saving act which he said has once again shown the resolve and resilient spirit of Lagos State and its people.

“Our deepest appreciation to the management of LASUTH who performed incredibly well under very difficult circumstances with the sudden arrival of large numbers of extremely injured persons, with the type of injuries that can cause death if not managed in a properly triage environment with a large number of specialists around. 
“I’d like to thank LASAMBUS who were really at the scene demonstrating the swiftness of pre-hospital management which is just as important as hospital management. With its new medical intensive care unit (MICU) ambulances, they were able to arrive at the scene very quickly and discharge patients to our premier university teaching hospital, LASUTH, for second level triage.

“And of course to LASEMA who are always the first to respond at the scene when there is mass casualty to secure the environment to allow medical personnel arrive at the scene and extract the patient easily, start first aid, triage and move the prioritised patients to the hospital in a manner that can save lives. 
“And the Lagos State blood transfusion service who are available to provide enough blood for us to do the work we had to do to save most of these patients. And generally, every member of the Lagos State Government involved in this rescue operation that has seen Lagos State reduce significantly the possibility of much higher casualty rate from a very ghastly accident.

“We would like to thank everybody including the public, for their support; those that came to give blood and offer all kind of services, it was indeed a show of solidarity of Lagosians to a very significant accident,” he said.
Also speaking, the Lagos State Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola acknowledged that the Lagos State Staff Bus involved in the accident was full to the acceptable capacity because staff opted for the bus which is free of charge as opposed to plying commercial transportation because of the present cash crunch situation in the country.
In his words: “The passenger capacity of the bus is 85; sitting capacity of about 45 and standing capacity of 40 passengers. The bus was full to capacity because quite a number of people due to the cash crunch situation opted to go with the bus, which was free of charge as opposed to plying commercial transportation. Yes indeed, the bus was moving at full capacity.”
Muri-Okunola noted that the driver of the bus is still in police custody assisting with investigation with regards to the cause of the accident. He disclosed the medical and mental state of the driver while driving has also been taken into consideration, noting that the result will form part of that investigative report.