Saturday, 28 November 2015

Bad Roads: Death Traps in Nigeria

A major calamity was averted last Tuesday at Itire bus stop, along the Oshodi-Apapa expressway, Lagos, when two articulated vehicles tilt­ed and fell in one of the several craters that have turned hell holes daily threatening the lives of motorists and other road users. One of the trucks crushed a Toyota Hiace bus and it was by providence that occupants of the bus were saved.

Though the incident is fast becoming a daily occurrence in addition to the total lock-down of traffic on the ever busy road, this particular incident provided a means for road users who thronged the scene to behold the miraculous escape and the horrifying wreck­age caused by the bad roads.

 It was gathered by Sunnews that three people in the bus and the driver of the truck were injured and taken to hospital by sympathisers.

According to eyewitnesses, both vehicles were trying to meander through the deadly potholes between Cele Express and Itire bus stop when one of the trucks plunged into a huge pothole, swerved hard, tilted and fell on the bus. With its huge metal structure, the red bus was flattened.

 But before the heavy metal could land on the bus, the passengers were quick to bolt out through the windows, as they scampered for their lives. They sus­tained injuries in their bid to escape death but passers-by rushed in and were able to rush them to the hospital.

When Saturday Sun visited the spot, the flattened wreckages of the bus and truck were left at the scene, as men of the Nigerian Po­lice at the Ilasamaja division and LASTMA officials were seen trying to ease the gridlock  already caused by the accident. Saturday Sun also learnt a heavy duty crane was deployed to lift the containers off the road to ensure flow of traffic.

The Tuesday incident is just an addition to the litany of those who have been killed or maimed, cars and trucks damaged, no thanks to the deplorable state of the road, arguably one of the busiest in the country.

Vehicles plying the route practically go through hell for several hours trying to me­ander in and out of the network of gullies on the road. A commuter, who witnessed the ac­cident, blamed the government for the poor condition of most roads in the country.

 He disclosed that it is fast becoming a norm for articulated vehicles to fall almost every week on the Oshodi-Apapa expressway. “Because of the potholes, trailers and containers al­ways fall here between Itire and Ilasa every week. I didn’t expect anybody to be alive when we saw the container fall on the bus but then we heard them shouting we had to rush and assist in bringing them out.

No one could blame the truck driver because he also sustained some injuries because of that bad road.”

“Do we still have the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) that prob­ably maintains roads in this country? If any road in Lagos deserves the Federal Govern­ment’s attention, that road should be Apapa- Mile Two-Oshodi Expressway, but I doubt if any other road has as many deep potholes and craters than this highway that connects the ports and the international airport.

“The government and its agencies that have failed to do something about this road are responsible for this young man losing his two legs this afternoon”, he said in obvious anger over another incident that claimed the two legs of a motorcyclist on the same road.

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