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CIoTA Leadership Intervenes To Tackle Container Accidents On Nigeria Roads And Boat Mishaps In The littoral States To Save lives

 By Stephen Ubanna

For years, there had been  several  cases of improper latched  Containers on trucks  falling off on major roads in Lagos, the  nation’s Commercial nerve center killing people . The number of people that were said to have been killed on Container  accidents alone, between 2015 and now,  according to an official of the Lagos  state Emergency Management,  Agency, LASEMA, are too numerous to count.  

It is not surprising why  the Lagos state government and the  Federal Road  Service Commission, FRSC, in the recent time were said to have  made  several attempts to control the reckless truck drivers on the major  road networks in the state, particular, the Oshodi – Apapa Express ways to save lives.

 Moreso, the federal ministry of works, under the close watch of Raji Babatunde Fashola, a two –time governornor of Lagos state and now minister of Works, was said to have also  been  on the neck of the contractors handling the Oshodi-Apapa road reconstruction project to complete it as agreed  to facilitate the movement of truck laden Containers on the Lagos  roads in order to save lives.

 Instances abound of improper latched  Containers  on trucks  falling off  and smashing vehicles thus, killing the occupants.   Take for instance  in late 2015, a ‘’40’’  Container   fell off the truck   at the busy Ojuelegba bridge  on two  vehicles  plying the road below.  The  floor of the rickety truck    on which the Container  rested  also gave way  and followed suit. The three occupants of the black Jeep that the improper latched Container fell on were said to have been   killed as the  jeep was crushed beyond repair. 

There  was also a  case of the fallen off of a ‘’40’’ Container   along the Ikorodu- Shagamu  Expressway  , close the to the  Central Business Area causing serious traffic on the road.  The truck which was said to be ascending a hill on its way to Lagos was said to have lost control and fell on its side  and  several other such cases.

 Indeed, all these  Container  accidents had been happening over the years on the  major road networks in Lagos, particular,  without the intervention of the Chartered Institute of Transport Administration of Nigeria ,CIoTA, which responsibility it is  to control the movement of  truck drivers  operating within the port environment in Lagos and the south east.

Note that within the  Lagos axis  trucks load Containers at Apapa, Tincan Island ports, Port Multi-services terminal limited,PTML, Kirikikiri Lighter Terminal,KLT, phases I and II  including Lilipond, bonded terminal, Ijora.

 While in south east, Containers are loaded mostly in Port Harcourt Area II Command, Onne and Rivers port, both in Rivers state, described as the busiest ports in the  south east. Note that there are  less Container cargoes  activities in the ports of Calabar , Cross –river state, and Delta port, Warri and thus, less cases of Container accidents in the two states.  

Amaechi: Minister of Transportation

 The recent  falling of an improper latched’’20’’  Container in a truck  on a Passenger bus at the  Illasamaja under bridge bus stop in Lagos, killing two passengers, who were said to be employees of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN,  may have drawn the attention  of  Bashir Jamoh, Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA ,  and the CIoTA President,  described as a  workaholic  to intervene to save the situation from getting worse.

 He  was said to have taken up the matter  immediately as the President of the Institute,  as he quickly  contacted one Mrs . Ajoku , whose  daughter was killed  in  the Container  accident and Mr. Nnaekpe, whose son was also  killed in the accident. He had extended the ssociation’s Condolence messages to   them.

Jamoh, the CIoTA , President, may have taken advantage of the Illasamaja Container accident that fell on a passenger bus killing two passengers ‘’to restate the Institute’s Commitment  to the safety  of all modes  of transportation in Nigeria, especially those operated with the port environment’’.

 He was said to have promised   Nigerians through  the parents of the deceased  in separate telephone Conversations that’’the  Association  would intensify its advisory role  on transportation  matters to rid the sector  of unsafe practices and ensure  smooth and safe movement’’ of goods and services on Nigerian roads.   

 Jamoh, who could not hide his feelings was said to have assured  the  aggrieved parents of the deceased that  CIoTA ‘’will not only  be lending a voice  to this matter as championed  by them ‘’but will play its leadership role of advocating  for transportation safety on the country roads .

Recall that Mrs. Ajoku had petitioned the Lagos state government to investigate the accident in order to bring the culprit  truck  driver latched with the ‘’20’’’ Container that fell on the  passenger bus that killed her 27 year –old daughter  to book. The LASEMA oficials who were at the scene of the  incident  had observed that it could have been avoided both for the recklessness of the driver. This is where the truck driver have a case to answer.

Jamoh, the CIoTA President,  may have gladdened the heart of Nigerians when he said that’’’’ the Institute  had started  engaging industry stakeholder to find a lasting  solution  to the issue of Container accidents, particularly with regard  to proper  latching of Containers on articulated vehicles’’. He had described Container accidents on Nigerian roads  as one of the major challenge  that has faced  transportation sector  within the port environment  in the recent times  and within must be addressed squarely’’.

He was said to have also  disclosed that the Association   have ‘’reached out  to the  key actors in Lagos state government  with a view  to getting  their Commitments  as the Association  strive ‘’to work towards  a broad- based programme  that will involve  all critical stakeholders  to acquaint them on the importance  of safety and properly latching  of Containers and  cargo to  trucks before they leave  the port environment’’ to forestall accidenets.  

Going by the steps  that had been taken by CIOTA , Maritime analysts  believe  that it may no longer be business as usual for the reckless truck drivers on the Nigerian roads. Philip Kyanet, an Assistant Director, and NIMASA Head of Corporate Communications  disclosed  that the Institute had already devised measures in ‘’addressing the  competence and mental  status of the truck drivers’’. This is a  bad news for the truck drivers as many of them may be thrown into the unemployment market t as they may   no longer be allowed to handled  truck- latched Containers on Nigeria roads as a way of  minimising Container accidents  and loss of lives.  

Appealing to the industry stakeholders to appreciate the efforts of CIoTA, to control  the  falling  of improper lathed Containers on trucks on Nigeria  roads,  Jamoh, the CIoTA President  had  declared that ’’ it is the only way to guarantee the issue of safety  in the nation’s transport  sector , stressing  that the sector ’’ would no longer take the back Seat’’.  Under his leadership.

Recall that the bold steps currently being    taken by Jamoh, as the President of CIOTA, to checkmate the activities of truck drivers on  Nigeria roads was also   taken in his capacity as the Director General of NIMASA to stop boat mishaps in Nigerian Inland water ways. He was said to have  adopted  tougher measures  against untrained  and Uncertified  Boat Skippers as the agency  advocates  unified enforcement guidelines and regulations  across the littoral states

. He  had said that  the ‘’harmonisation  of standards  and procedures for boat passengers  safety between NIMASA  and the Lagos state government  would go a long way  in minimising  unsafe practices by operators of non-conventional vessels, which are not subject  to international standards, but rely   mainly on  national regulations’’. The NIMASA Director General   had said that the Federal ministry of Transportation under the close watch of Rotimi Amaechi   was already in the process  of building  a unified enforcement guidelines  for enforcement  in the country’s waters.

 With the new safety procedures that was said to have been put  in place to control  boat mishaps  in Nigeria waters, Jamoh , the NIMASA, boss was said to have made it clear to those that cares to listen   ‘’that before any  boat could be certified to sail by the agency  enforcement officers,’’ there must be availability of  adequate  lifejackets and the boat must be in good condition’’.

 This is in addition to ensuring that the  time  of  the  use of any passenger  boat , it  must be verified  to match  with the time by the government for starting operations and closing for the day avoid putting the lives of the boat  passengers in danger as occurred recently  in Goronyo local government area of Sokoto state. Zakari Shinaka,  Chairman of  the local government  said that there were about  30 Passengers on board the boat when the mishap  occurred.

 Muhammad Sadiq, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, ASP,  and the Sokoto state Police Command Spokesperson said many of the Passengers were rescued but three persons were found dead.  He said another six dead Passengers from the  boat mishap were recovered on Thursday, July 30, 2020.

  A  security source disclosed that both for  the 50 divers engaged by the Goronyo  local, who succeeded in  rescuing  some of the Passengers alive, the death toll from the boat mishap  would have been more.  Shinaka, the Chairman of the Goronyo local government  had attributed the boat  mishap to overloading by the operator.  This may have read the riot act to the  boat  operators in the state  to stop overloading their boats to avoid endangering the lives of passengers. The advice may not be limited to the   boat operators  in the Caliphate state but also to Lagos  boat operators  and other littoral  states across the country.        

Stephen Ubanna

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