By Stephen Ubanna
Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, Director General, Lagos state Environmental Management Authority, LASEMA, is not a happy man. This is because of the rate at which both latched and unlatched Containerised cargoes and the empty fall in Lagos killing innocent people on the road.
Between July 26, 2020, and Friday, August 20, 2020, one ‘’20’’ and one ‘’40’’ Container each had fallen almost at the same spot killing two persons each along the Oshodi –Apapa Express way in Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve center.
The latest ‘’40’’ empty Container that killed two adults was said to have occurred at Odo Olowu Bus stop, Ijesha . The truck which was said to be loaded with the ‘’40’’ empty Container was said to have had a brake failure which resulted why it rammed into a Commercial truck parked at the location of the accident.
The ‘’40’’ empty Container accident , according to eye-witness account had occurred near the same location where a 27 year-old Chidinma Ajoku , a Staff of the Federal Airport Authority, FAAN, and her Colleague, were also killed after an unlatched Container fell on a Commercial bus they were in.
Worried at the rate which Containers are falling in Lagos, particular, along the Oshodi-Apapa Express way, officials of the Lagos state Environmental agency, LASEMA, according to insider sources were said to have activated its Emergency Response Team, Eagle squad.
The Team was said to been deployed to the Odo-olowu Bus stop, the scene of the recent accident.Perhaps , to avoid causing more accident on the busy Oshodi-Apapa Express way, the LASEMA Team and the police were said to have worked together to recover the accidented truck off the road with the aid of its heavy duty equipment and forklift. They were said to rescued the driver alive but the victims were takento the Mortuary.
The recent Container accident may have opened the eye of the officials of the and the state ministry of Transport and LASEMA, an agency of the government that they need to initiate new measures that would enhance the monitoring of trucks latched with Containers on the Lagos roads in order to control the activities of the drivers.
Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the state governor, who is no longer finding it funny about the loss of lives in the nation’s Commercial nerve center due to Container accidents was said to have thrown his weight on LasAMA, urging the agency to utilise its full powers as contained in the Act establishing it to bring the truck drivers operating in Lagos under control.
The Lagos state government and its agency, LASEMA, may not be alone in addressing the problem of Container accident in the state. The Chartered Institute of Transport Administration, CIoTA, also had been working on the challenege over the last two years ‘’ to ensure the safety of all modes of transportation in in the country, particular, those operated within the port environment’’.
Bashir Jamoh, President of the Institute and who incidentally is the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, may have made his feelings known to those that cares to listen when he gave his words that the Association would ‘’ intensify its advisory role on transportation matters’’ to the rid the sector of unsafe practices and ensure smooth and safe movement of trucks in the port environment’’.
As President of CIoTA, and a man of his words, he was said to have started engaging the industry stakeholders in a bid to find a lasting solution to the issue of safety, particular, ‘’ with proper latching of Containers, onto articulated trucks’’. He had said that the falling off Containers latched onto truck remain a major challenge that has faced transportation in the port environment in the recent times and which must be tackled headlong.
As a prelude to ensuring that that the Association was not working at opposite directions with the Lagos state government, the officials, according to insider sources, were said to have reached out to key actors in the state ministry of Transportation and LASEMA, with a view to getting their commitment ‘’to work towards a broad-based programme that will involve all the critical stakeholders in order for them to know about the importance of safety and properly latching of Containers and cargo to trucks before they leave the marine and other import-export environments for the general road networks in the state.
The CIoTA, officials, were said to be looking at the issue of the competence and mental status of the truck drivers as they insists that safety in the sector can longer take the back Seat. But Transport analysts would want Jamoh, the CIoTA, president and his Colleagues , to set up a Roving Team within the Lagos port Environment that would be monitoring the trucks taking their exit from the port to the general road networks in Lagos to ensure they comply with the road signs, rules and regulations. They were said to have suggested that any driver found to have contravened the Law should be sanctioned on the spot as a deterrence to others.
. dThe analysts believe that that if this can be implemented by both CIoTA and the Lagos state Environmental Agency, LASEMA, the rate of trucks accident on the Oshosi-Apapa Express would be reduced to the barest minimum.