30 Die In Lagos Road Accident

Source: BABATOLA MICHAEL - thewillnigeria.com

LAGOS, August 15, (THEWILL) - It was a dark day in Lagos today as about 30 persons died in a ghastly road accident, which occurred opposite Michael Otedola Housing Estate along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

In the incident, about 15 vehicles were razed down.

THEWILL learnt that the accident involved a truck, a couple of saloon cars and buses conveying passengers to other neighbouring states; occurred about 10:30 am with more than 50 persons wounded.

A Lagos State Government source told THEWILL that the accident was due to brake failure from a truck carrying mattresses. Other sources attributed it to the truck driver's recklessness, though eyewitnesses have disputed these positions.

THEWILL gathered from sources at the scene that the accident occurred due to a high-speed pursuit of the truck by a Nigerian Police Patrol Team which caused the driver to suddenly loose control and ram into another vehicle and subsequently led to multiple crashes.

As a result, scores of enraged youths confronted the policemen hurling stones at the officers who then shot teargases at the enraged youths in return.

THEWILL further learnt that the incident caused a protracted traffic gridlock, a situation which made it difficult for the officers of the Lagos State Ambulance Service (LASAMBUS), Nigeria Police, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) and other rescue team to arrive the scene on time.

But despite the constraints, rescue officers from the Nigeria Police, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Lagos State Fire Service, LASAMBUS and LASTMA made their way to the scene.

Speaking with THEWILL after the accident Mr. Rasheed Adeniji, a driver at the gory scene of the accident said that the crash was caused by some police officers who mounted a ‘road block’ on one side of the road and cordoned off the other side.

Adeniji said he lost his bus conductor in the accident that claimed the lives of many travelers within a twinkle of an eye. He said: "We were again in a serious traffic here on this spot this morning where the police officers use to collect N20 from us and pursue people coming with second handed cars. All of a sudden we just heard a big bang behind before I knew fire had engulfed the whole place.

"I quickly managed to come out of the motor and ran to the other side. When I saw a trailer that rammed into the long queue of vehicles waiting to be cleared by the police officers, people started running here and there.

"I then looked around I did not see my conductor, my own brother. I started shouting for help from people to bring out my passengers, about 18 of them, including my brother. As I am talking to you now they could not come out, they all burnt to ashes."

Another eyewitness buttressed the account of Adeniji, saying the trailer loaded with mattresses and some combustible materials lost control as a result of brake failure and ran into the vehicular traffic.

He added that the trailer "was on top speed with heavy load. It is like his brakes failed and he lost control of the trailer. The next thing we heard was a loud noise and fire everywhere, vehicles and people burning. It is a very sad development. This kind of accident has happened so many times and the government does not want to address the issue. May be their own people are not involved yet."

Meanwhile irate youths who fingered the police as the cause of the accident were also seen looking for policemen in uniform to attack. Sensing the danger the police deployed to maintain law and order immediately retreated from the scene throwing tear gas to scare away the angry youths.

Speaking to THEWILL on phone, Lagos State Police Command Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Frank Mbah said he has been briefed about the accident, and that directive had been given to the Police Division Police to act ensure public order and safety.