Train Crash: Bus Driver For Prosecution, As Mourning Workers Desert Alausa

March 10, 2023


The Police in Lagos have provided an update on the Oluwaseun Osinbajo, the driver of the government staff bus which collided with a moving train at Shogunle, Ikeja area of the state on Thursday.

The police said the driver has been arrested and will be prosecuted soon.

The ill-fated bus with Lagos registration number; 04A- 48LA, number 33, was heading to Alausa, Ikeja from Isolo, and in the process of beating other motorists at the PWD rail crossing, Shogunle, collided with an oncoming train. It was carrying several passengers, mostly, civil servants, and some dependents. 

Meanwhile, there was low a turn- out of civil servants at the Lagos State Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, on Friday, as workers continued to mourn the tragic death of their six colleagues and 80 others injured on a Black Thursday train and state government staff bus collision at Shogunle, Ikeja area of the state.

A few workers, in pensive mood, who reported for duty, observed a half-day operation as they closed at about 12 noon. Some of the workers were seen in groups, discussing the development.

One of the workers who spoke with Vanguard under anonymity, described the accident as “scary and unfortunate,” because the majority of the workers joined the bus to their different destinations.

“I know the driver to be a gentleman, I don’t know what could come over him to do what he alleged to have done. For those who died we pray to God to grant them eternal rest and the families the fortitude to bear the loss. As you can see, we (workers) are in a deep mourning mood here in Alausa.”     

Recall that, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, after visiting the victims at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, to commiserate with them, declared a three-day mourning and flags to fly at half-mast within the period, suspending all forms of all public engagements and political campaigns.

Sanwo-Olu, in a swift response, expressed deep shock and sorrow over the unfortunate incident.

According to Sanwo-Olu; “I am deeply saddened by the news of the accident. The vehicle was conveying staff of the Lagos State Government, our staff who serve the state in different capacities.

“Let’s say a prayer for the families and a prayer of mercy and protection for our state.

“My thoughts are with the victims and their families during this difficult time.”

“This is a very sober time for us as a government, and while we acknowledge God as the giver of life, the one who determines every man’s destiny, it saddens when we have incidents like this.

“The fatal accident happened at the rail crossing around PWD in the Shogunle area. I believe they were coming from the express and needed a right turn, and wanted to drag over the rail.

“It is not yet clear what happened, but it seems like a wrong judgement by the driver. I also learnt he has turned himself to the police, and so investigations will determine what actually went wrong. We would also reach out to the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) to give their own account of what transpired so we can have full information.

“We haven’t informed any family members yet because these are civil servants that were going to work so we cannot begin to disclose names until when families have been contacted.

“Of the number of injured persons, 25 were treated very quickly and transferred to the Gbagada General Hospital, Agege General Hospital and the trauma centre at the toll gate so this place can be decongested and proper profiling of injuries can be done.

“There will be half a day of work tomorrow (today) so we can jointly mourn our staff, and our loved ones, and the dead can be buried. Flags will also fly at half mast for the next three days, and we are also declaring a three-day state mourning for the deceased.”

Sanwo-Olu, commended residents who assisted the first responders in the search and rescue operation, saying the true spirit of Lagos must be sustained at all times.

He commended the first responders, LASUTH and LASUCOM staff and security agencies for their prompt response.

“A big thank you to well-meaning Lagosians who immediately joined in rescue efforts. Our first responders and emergency services are on the ground and we will share more information shortly,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Chief Medical Director, CMD, LASUTH, Prof Adetokunbo Fabamwo, confirmed that a total pof 102 persons were involved in the accident.

He said the victims were taken to five health facilities in the state which are: LASUTH, Ifako-Ijaiye General Hospital, Gbagada General Hospital, Lagos Island General Hospital and Medical Emergency Centre, Lagos-Ibadan Old Toll Gate.

He however debunked the report on social media that the management of LASUTH abandoned victims in an open space when they were brought to the hospital for treatment.

A statement by the state government earlier, read in part: “The falsehood peddled on social media that victims of the train accident at Ikeja were left unattended to is wicked and mischievous. pure ignorance.

“Victims were speedily evacuated to LASUTH. They were attended to outside the emergency Centre to classify their injuries as normal medical procedures in an emergency. Survivors have since undergone various stages of treatment and admitted into wards.

“LASUTH has displayed excellence and commitment to ensure all patients are stable and discharged promptly.

“It is inhuman for anyone to go on social media to peddle rumours when families grieve over the loss of their loved ones.”

According to some of the survivors, the driver was warned and shunned all entreaties not to beat the approaching train in an attempt to meander his way through other vehicles that had stopped.

A staff of the Lagos State Government who did not want to be mentioned said she stopped travelling in that particular bus because of the risk the driver had taken in the past dashing across the rail track with fast approaching train.

According to her “Though it was the most convenient bus for me to take on my route, but I stopped boarding the bus because we had in the past warned the man against beating train warnings, but he would not listen. Now it has happened.”

A mother with her daughter and husband, a student on Industrial Training Scheme, among others survived the fatal auto crash.

Police confirm arrest of the driver

Commissioner for Police, CP, Lagos State Railway Command, CP, Yetunde Longe, when contacted on Friday, said; “After investigations and taking of the necessary details, the driver whose name is Oluwaseun Osinbajo, will be arraigned in court and first he will be transferred to the Director Public Prosecutions, because of the fact that he is a Lagos State staff.”

Longe, said the driver had been arrested after undergoing psychiatric, and drug tests.

The said driver, who was among those rushed to LASUTH, was said to have been ushered into another unit in the hospital for psychiatric, physiological and drug tests.

She added: “We are investigating the number of people that died in the crash.

“An autopsy will be conducted on the remains of the victims on Friday.

“Presently, we are with the driver, we are handing him over to doctors for medical examinations because there was a flag officer at the railway crossing, flagging him down, but he refused to stop.

“This is why we must subject him to a medical examination. As a driver, this is one of the tests you have to take note of because when you get to a level crossing, the train will be honking for people to know that a train is coming. Drivers should ensure they are patient for the train pass.”

When asked why there was no barrier at the level crossing, Longe stated: “Unfortunately, for now, we don’t have such a thing there anymore. But there was a signalman who was at the crossing in the morning when the crash occurred. The driver of the bus never obeyed the signalman. That was what caused the crash.

“The driver, if found culpable, will be prosecuted and we are working with the state Department of Public Prosecution.  They are gathering more evidence to prosecute him. The driver is in our custody presently.”

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