Nigeria: Lagos train crash- blame the poor transport facilities for avoidable loss of life

We publish the statement of the Revolutionary Socialist Movement (RSM) in Nigeria concerning the recent bus-train crash in Lagos

  • We sympathize with the victims of the horrific accident 
  • We demand adequate compensation for the families of the victims beyond mere political gimmicks 
  • We call for an improved public funded transport system to avoid future accidents

The Revolutionary Socialist Movement (RSM) sympathizes with the families and friends of the victims of the horrific train-bus accident which happened on Thursday, 9th of March, 2023, at the PWD junction, Ikeja, Lagos, which reportedly claimed the life of 6 and injured 53 people. We put this blame on the poor structure, management and organization of the Lagos State traffic and road system. We maintain that such a delicate intersection should either have an overhead bridge to prevent any clash whatsoever or should maintained by transport officers. Instead, the bus commuters are left to their traditional, manual railway check before crossing. Therefore, we demand an immediate reorganization of not only the train-bus intersections but the entire road-train trails. We also demand adequate compensation including scholarships and lifetime benefits for the families of the deceased beyond mere political gimmicks.

As confirmed by the Lagos State Governor, Jide Sanwo-Olu, a BRT bus, transporting 81 staff members of the Lagos state ran into a train rail and was hit by the train. 6 persons were confirmed dead while 53 patients were hospitalized based on the critical nature of their wounds. The accident also recorded the death of a 28-year-old youth service corps member, Oreoluwa Aina. We maintain that this kind of event could have been avoided if this intersection was well managed and organized. Such a critical junction in a developed state like Lagos requires a flyover bridge that will allow vehicles and trains to pass without interference. Until this is realised, security/traffic officers should be stationed at such junctions to direct and moderate the passage of trains and vehicles. It is so unfortunate that commuters are left to face the menace of this horrendous error of the Lagos State Transport system. Also, this is not the only bus-train intersection left bare in the state. 

We therefore demand a re-organization of the train-bus routes to avoid such a clash in the future. We also demand a total overhaul of the transport system in the state to allow commuters navigate their various destinations with little or no hassle. We maintain that if proper measures were put in place in the first instance, the bus driver wouldn’t have dabbed into the train rail. If Lagos state is well-linked and saturated with good road and rail networks, the various transport issues viz-a-viz high cost of transportation in the state will be reduced.

While we acknowledge the intervention of the Lagos State Governor, we can also identify elements of political gimmicks especially at a time like this when he is seeking a return ticket to the state house. Therefore, we demand that compensations should be adequate and sufficiently spelt out. Families of the victims should be given scholarships and life-long benefits. Also, injured victims should be provided with further medical care beyond even the period of their injuries.

Sympathy alone isn’t enough to console the families and friends of the victims. What is needed is a public, safe and adequate transport system which will be running free of charge for commuters. In order to achieve this in Nigeria we need to take the money from capitalists and the rich elite, who are living in extreme wealth, and invest in public transport. Mass investments should be made in creating an adequate rail network to cover all areas of the state, both inside cities and outside of them. This shift in policy can also have a very good impact on environment (with fewer emissions) and save time, energy and money from ordinary working class people who will not have to spend hour and hours in traffic jams. In order for a nationalised transport sector to work properly, it needs to run under the democratic control and management by workers and society. Only then we can avoid corruption and inadequate safety measures.

The trade unions in Lagos State must prepare to struggle for this kind of transport system, to avoid horrendous accidents like this to happen again. 

Publicity Secretary

Salako Kayode

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