Terrors on the highway
Like other commuters, he was at the bus stop to board a bus to Murtala Muhammed International Airport Road at the close of work, when he felt somebody pulling his clothes. He never knew why the person dragged him away until the container with shocking bang descended on the ground when the driver was manoeuvring his way through the bad spot on the service lane.
The shock sent a current through his nerve, making him to shiver with tickles of tears rolling down his cheeks. He knelt down and raised his two hands to God in thanksgiving.
The drama that accompanied the fall was a shout at the top of their voices. Some were crying, thinking some unsuspecting commuters at the bus stop had been crushed to death.
But when the confusion and tension had palpably reduced, it was discovered that nobody was trapped except the driver and the conductor who sustained minor injuries.
The accident occurred at 7.30 p.m. at the spot that has proved very troublesome even, as the Lagos State government has devoted time and resources to repair it on many occasions. The Wednesday incident is one of the several that had happened in the recent past.
As a result of the bad spot, no week actually passes without one or two articulated vehicles conveying loaded containers automobile spare parts to Ladipo Market, Mushin, falling.
An eyewitness told The Guardian that the accident would have claimed many lives if not God.
Most of the people at the scene of the incident described such accident at that particular point as one too many. They blamed the frequent fall of containers on the bad state of the road.
One of them lamented that hardly would a week pass by, without such occurrence
“From October to the beginning of this month, nothing less than seven cases of falling containers have been recorded. The state of the road is so bad that it is no longer safe for such vehicles to ply it. But that is the only route to the spare-parts market in Ladipo.
“We are pleading with the government to look into the situation before it claims lives of innocent people,” said Taiye, a trader along the road.
A spare-part trader, Tony Nwankwo, explained that the rate at which containers conveying goods from the ports usually fall at the spot was becoming worrisome.
According to him, “I cannot imagine why a bad spot cannot be fixed by appropriate authorities. We have incurred several losses and our prayer is that such accidents will not claim lives before the government reacts to it.”
He pleaded with authorities of Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to fix the bad portion along the service lane between Five Start Bus Stop and Toyota along Apapa-Oshodi Expressway.
When The Guardian visited the spot yesterday, it was observed that portion of the road was not only dotted with potholes, but the right side of it has totally caved in. The culvert supporting the tarred part of the road had fallen off, leaving a gully right on the middle of the service lane.
On the same service lane about five metres away from the portion, there is another deadly spot with craters and potholes where various trucks had been trapped.
An employee of one of the companies along the area lamented that one factor that always made him sad and afraid everyday he set out for work, was the deplorable state of the road.
According to him, “Whenever I remember the state of the road and having to drive side by side with articulated vehicles on that portion of the road, an unseen mishap cuts through my mind.
“I have witnessed several accidents around that portion and I do not know what government is doing to fix it?” he said.
In another near death encounter, a commercial motorcycle operator was saved from being crushed by an articulated vehicle, which had a brake failure in the same area on Wednesday.
The police officer that rescued the commercial motorcycle operator bemoaned the frequent threat to lives on the road by articulated vehicles.
He said the road was in a bad state and until it was repaired, more accidents would still be recorded.
While hundreds of people who were apprehensive over the rate at which containers fell on the particular portion, residents of Papa-Ajao, Osoro, Palm Avenue, Ladipo, Adio Shomade streets and others, in Mushin had also expressed concern over the rate at which articulated vehicles, carrying containers moved in and out of their busy streets, both in the day and at night.
Some of them pleaded with the state government and Mushin Local Council authorities to regulate the movement of such heavy-duty vehicles within streets.
It has been observed that such vehicles were responsible for some of the falling electricity poles and cables in the area, unnecessary traffic jam and destruction of the road.
A resident, Josephine Momoh, said she was not against anybody doing business but they must be restricted.
According to her, “Someone needs to take keen observation of the nuisance inherent in the area and danger the articulated vehicles constitute while trying to manoeuvre their way through the narrow streets.”