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4 feared dead in Jebba train crash

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  • As Lagos water destroys houses in Ogun, displaces residents

Four passengers were feared dead in a north-bound train coming from Lagos when it derailed few meters to Jebba station in Moro Local Government Area of Kwara State. Eyewitnesses told National Mirror that the train which was on top speed lost three of its rear coaches that fell off with passengers and goods it was carrying.

The train, it further said, even with the derailment, was not able to stop at the station as it was only able to stop by the foot of the Niger bridge leaving the tracks badly damaged with the goods it was carrying littering the area.

National Mirror further gathered that the crash occurred shortly after crossing the Jebba Paper Mill level-crossing and was about to enter the station when the coaches fell off. An NRC official who said he was not authorised to speak to the press on the matter disclosed that the crash was caused by a failed brake.

According to the source, the driver of the train lost control following brake failure, derailing from the rail track into a nearby settlement culminating into the loss of two lives. The source hinted that the driver of the train managed the situation by bringing the train to an abrupt halt without the aid of a functioning brake devise. Assistant Director, Publicity, Nigeria Railway Corporation, NRC, Mr. Rauf Akinloye, who spoke through a subordinate confirmed the death of four passengers, adding that three others also sustained injuries. The dead, he said, had been deposited in the mortuary while the injured were treated and discharged. Also, the NRC spokesman said the damaged tracks had been repaired with a view to put it to use, while the damaged coaches would be taken to Kano for repairs.

Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed yesterday commiserated with the families of the deceased passengers

In the meantime, dwellers of Iludun community, Oke-Aro, in the Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State, say they are overwhelmed by the wastewater discharge from Adiyan Waterworks owned by the Lagos State Water Corporation.

They said no fewer than 10 houses in the community had been ravaged by the flood that resulted from high volume of the wastewater while at least 70 residents, including landlords, had been forced to relocate.

It was learnt that the flood was caused by the failure of the Lagos State Government to dredge a river in the area, which collects the water.

Residents, who spoke with PUNCH Metro, said the river was dredged last about eight years ago, making the river to overflow its bank and ravage buildings.

In a visit to the affected community on Thursday, our correspondent observed the effects of the flood in some sinking deserted houses, while a section of a drainage channel through which the water flows into the river had turned into a gully.

A landlord, Akinwale Ibikunle, whose house is located near the gully, said a child fell there sometime last year and sustained serious injuries.

“The boy should be around 10. He was taken to Igbobi Hospital in Lagos. There was also a time that one herdsman fell into the gully with his cows. He hit his head on the stone while he was struggling to rescue the cows. He was rescued, but the cows died. I learnt he died some days after.

“Some years ago, what is now a gully was an ordinary gutter that we crossed easily. We can no longer send our children on errands for fear of being trapped. We want the government to do something about it,” he said.

A resident, Azeez Ajayi, said the erosion worsened four years ago.

He said, “When I moved into Iludun 15 years ago, there was nothing like this. In fact, we don’t experience flood in the rainy season. It is the waste water that caused it and a lot of residents have been displaced. My house is always flooded. I have spent a lot of money maintaining my house because I have no other place to go.

“Hardly will the water not be released in a day. The problem became worse four years ago and we have been complaining to Lagos and Ogun states governments since then. At least, 70 persons had packed out of this community.”

A pastor, Adedeji Toluwase, of Power Reign Prayer Ministries, said membership of the church had drastically reduced as result of the development, adding that they had worshipped outside the church on many occasions.

“Last Monday, the flood brought in a big snake into my room,” he added.

Evangelist Esther Arowolo of the New Born Apostolic Church said, “Our surroundings are always submerged in water. We just rebuilt a part of the church that crumbled a few months ago. Three landlords, who were my neighbours, had vacated their houses. Several houses are sinking.”

Another affected landlord and the chairman of a committee set up to look into the disaster, Evangelist Olade Odulana, said his wife and five children had moved to another community.

He said the committee petitioned the Lagos State Water Corporation on February 2, 2015, and when there was no response, “we wrote to the Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun. But things are becoming worse by the day and up to 10 houses have been destroyed.”

Odulana explained that two reminders were sent to Amosun after some officials from the state ministry of environment visited the community.

One of the reminders dated February 16, 2016, read in part, “This is to remind you sir concerning the petition and a reminder we addressed to your office about the menace in our community, which is caused by the wastewater from (Lagos State Water Corporation) Adiyan Waterworks. The worst is still happening to us despite the fact that we are in dry season.

“The river where the wastewater is channelled to is overflowing and needs dredging. Come to our aid.”

Attempts to get reactions of the Lagos State Government proved abortive as calls put across to the line of the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, rang out. He had also yet to reply to a text message sent to him since Thursday.

However, a reply from the Ogun State Ministry of Environment to the community, dated April 19, 2016, and signed by one Mr. Tunji Adenuga, stated that the Lagos State Government had started working to stem the flood.

It read in part, “This ministry has taken action on the matter by writing the Lagos State Water Corporation and the corporation has forwarded to the ministry a reply to our letter, apologising for its action and informing us of the steps taken to minimise the effect of wastewater discharge from Adiyan Waterworks.”

Adenuga confirmed the letter from the Lagos State Government to PUNCH Metro on the telephone.

“They wrote to us twice that they are working on it,” Adenuga added.

National Mirror with additional report from Punch

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Accidents

5  Die In Lagos-Ibadan Expressway Accident

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19 die, 26 injured in Kano auto crash — FRSC

Five persons were confirmed dead in an accident at NASFAT turning on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway on Wednesday.

Ten others sustained injuries in the accident.

Mrs Florence Okpe, the spokesperson for the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Ogun, confirmed the incident to newsmen in Abeokuta.

Okpe noted that the incident occurred at 9:56a.m and it involved a Daf truck marked KUT 561 ZZ, a Toyota Hiace bus marked GGE 84 YF, and a Man diesel truck without a registration number.

She said that the likely cause of the accident was dangerous driving on the part of one of the trucks.

”A total of 15 persons were involved, which comprised 11 men and four women.

” Ten were injured (six men and four women) while five persons were killed from the multiple crash,” she said.

The FRSC spokesperson said that the injured victims were taken to Famobis Hospital, Mowe, while the deceased were deposited at Idera Hospital morgue, Sagamu.

The Sector Commander, Anthony Uga, cautioned motorists on speed and reckless driving, advising them to drive defensively for safety. 

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Customs Suspends Noble Intention To Sell Rice At Rock-bottom Price

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Nigeria Customs Service’s noble intention to sell impounded rice to the masses at the rock-bottom price of N10,000 per half-bag has been suspended.

It would be recalled that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), on the directive of Mr. President, announced the commencement of a noble intervention aimed at alleviating the hardships faced by Nigerians and improving access to essential food items through direct disposal of seized edible goods condemned in competent courts of law and certified fit for consumption by relevant government agencies. 

Consequently, according to the Chief Superintendent of Customs and National Public Relations Officer, Abdullahi Maiwada, a pilot exercise was conducted on Friday, 23 February 2024, at NCS Old Zonal Headquarters, Yaba, Lagos state. 

Stated Maiwada: “The exercise was conducted following meticulous planning to address all potential risks that may emerge during the exercise. As part of our process and control measures, we had Nigeria Police and military personnel to ensure crowd control. We also fully equipped a medical team on the ground in anticipation of potential risks during an exercise of that magnitude. Their presence was part of our proactive approach to ensuring the safety and well-being of all participants.

“The disposal of the food items got off to a smooth start at about 0800hrs. We enjoyed the cooperation of the large crowd that obliged us, giving preferences to the elderly, people living with disabilities, pregnant women, and other vulnerable Nigerians who showed up for the exercise. This was the case up until about 1700hrs, as attested to by the over 5000 beneficiaries and members of the press. 

 

“However, unforeseen challenges arose when we ran out of stock and announced the continuation of the exercise the following day, leading to a regrettable outcome. The crowd became desperate and charged through our barricades in search of rice bags inside emptied containers. In the stampede that ensued, some fatalities and injuries were regrettably recorded”, the Service Spokesman stated, stressing that the Nigeria Customs Service extends its heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives during the unfortunate incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the affected families during this challenging time, and we assure them of our unwavering support. 

“We are working with Hospital Authorities to establish contact and engage directly with the victims’ families on their next steps. Following this incident, an internal investigation was initiated to understand the circumstances surrounding this unfortunate event. 

“As a service deeply committed to the welfare and safety of Nigerians, we recognize the need for heightened sensitivity and preventive measures in all our operations. 

“Considering the recent unfortunate event, we regrettably announce the suspension of this exercise until we establish what transpired on Friday, 23 February 2024. 

“This should help us to properly articulate more robust and comprehensive action that will not defeat the noble intention. We appreciate the understanding and cooperation of all Nigerians as we work towards addressing the challenges facing our nation’s food security”, the Imgemaker said further. 

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Accidents

LASG Lifts RTEAN- Ban; Dissolves State’s Parks And Garages Administrators’ Committee 

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…To boost peace 

In furtherance of this administration’s quest to foster peace and smooth working relationships among union members in the transportation sector, the Lagos State Government has lifted the ban on the activities of the Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) in the State.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on transportation, Hon. Sola Giwa said on Monday that the government decided after careful consideration and extensive consultations with relevant Stakeholders, including members of the association, Trade Union Congress (TUC), and the general public.

Hon. Giwa further stated that the Lagos State Parks and Garages Administrators’ Committee which was set up to manage parks and garage facilities in the State has been dissolved with immediate effect.

He explained that the decision is made in the best interest of promoting unity and peaceful co-existence, ensuring the smooth operation of transport services within the State as well as helping to foster a more collaborative relationship between the government and the transport union, ultimately leading to improved services for the public.

The Special Adviser urged all parties involved to adhere strictly to the terms and conditions of the settlement reached for peaceful and sustainable operations in the transportation sector.

He also implored them to cooperate and work together towards building a better transportation system to benefit all Lagos State residents.

It would be recalled that the State Government suspended the activities of RTEAN across the State in September 2022 and constituted a Caretaker Committee to oversee the Affairs of the union.

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