Amidst rising condemnation of their operations in Lagos, deaths caused by accidents involving container-laden trucks claimed as much as 92 lives, in addition to 398 casualties in 2022 alone. Shipping Position Daily investigations have revealed.
According to data made available exclusively to our correspondent by the Lagos State Command of the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC), between January and December last year a total of 92 people died with 398 casualties recorded in accidents involving 261 trucks.
Further details revealed that a total of 74 male adults, eight female adults and 10 infants died as a result of different truck accidents in that year.
Stakeholders have also expressed belief that the recorded fatalities may be much more than what is recorded, as many of recorded injuries later resulted in deaths.
The data, which was obtained last week, revealed that in March last year alone, 43 trucks were involved in different degrees of accidents that claimed 19 lives, with 51 people sustaining different levels of injuries and a total of 70 casualties recorded.
Further breakdown of the statistics also revealed that 219 male adults, 57 female adults and 30 children, sustained various degrees of injury within the year under review.
The FRSC Lagos command also disclosed that, it recorded a total of 61 ‘fatal’ accidents, 85 ‘serious’ accidents and 115 ‘minor’ accidents in 2022.
Reacting to the shocking details, the immediate past Chairman of the Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO); Chief Remi Ogungbemi lamented the fatalities and said the association has begun a sensitisation programme on the need for drivers and truck owners to put their trucks in shape in other to avoid accidents.
He said the sensitization, which is in collaboration with other regulators is aimed at ensuring that truck owners and drivers are drug and alcohol-free when driving.
He nevertheless blamed street urchins and touts also known as “Agberos” for contributing immensely to truck accidents on the roads in Lagos.
He said: “With the data, we are concerned because of the frequent accidents involving containerised trucks; it is giving every one of us a serious concern, and that is why we embarked on a rigorous safety campaign, we go to garages and parks since after the incident at Ojuelegba, we have our public address system that we use to sensitise truck owners and truck drivers on the need to maintain their trucks and particularly ensure that they do not drive under the influence of alcohol, and not only that, but to ensure that they have valid licenses before they can drive”.
Speaking further, he said, “we still have some challenges that have become a contributing factor to the accidents, particular the streets urchins; the activities of the street urchins known as ‘area boys’, we see them waylaying trucks, hanging on the door side of drivers, collecting drivers’ phone, collecting their money at times even injuring them. So that is why we are appealing to the authority to help us to outlaw or criminalise the activities of the area boys.
Also speaking, a member of the Committee of Maritime Truck Union and Associations (COMTUA) Mr. Richard Uzoeghelu lampooned state agencies for contributing to the constant truck accidents on the roads in Lagos.
He alleged that the state actors, such as: the FRSC, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS) and the Nigeria Police are all guilty. This is even as he decried the activities of miscreants on the roads.
He said: “Everybody has to take responsibility for what happens, especially the government; both federal and the state, because their activities are a direct reflection of what happens on the road. For instance these miscreants that are everywhere all over Lagos, they are not helping the situation. When you trace most of these accidents, you will discover that most of these miscreants are directly involved”.
Lamenting, he added that, “the working environment is also stressful for the driver, if the terminal operators do their jobs very well, you will see free flow of movement, but to go in and load a container takes multiple days and these drivers are also human beings and many times, the effect of this delay takes a toll on them, the fatigue is also a contributing factor, and a few of them; maybe because of drug injections; alcohol and what have you, but you found out that some of them can make mistakes and this leads to accidents”.
“But for most of them who indulge in these things, we have tried to counsel them and talk to them, but they will always tell you that what happens on the roads cannot be resolved without taking alcohol or injections,” he said.
On his part the President General, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN); Comrade Adewale Adeyanju noted that many of the trucks operating in the country are old and rickety, while urging federal and state governments to enforce sanctions and ensure proper monitoring so as to reduce the number of truck accidents on the roads.
“Many of the trucks are old and rickety and there is a need for the government to enforce sanction and monitoring, we will support the trucking associations because these trucks constitute a menace on our roads” he said.
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