Train Collides With Truck In Iju-Ishaga, Lagos

Scene of the train accident.

 

A train accident occurred on Monday along the Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos State involving a truck carrying animal feeds.

Eyewitnesses told Channels Television that the truck did not clear off the rail track completely which led to the train brushing it off from the rear.

Although no causality was recorded, the accident led to vehicular traffic in the area.

Rescue officials and security operatives have swung to action, by pulling the truck off the track for easy passage.

READ ALSO: Fire Guts Warehouses At Iddo Railway Terminal

The officials also explained to Channels Television that the truck was on one-way when the accident occurred.

“Stakeholders are here from the Federal Fire Service, LASTMA, LASEMA, and others are all on the ground. The truck that will remove the trailer from the track is already on the ground.

“We are attempting to remove its content- the animal feed – so that it will be easy for it to be removed from the track,” Wale Adedokun, Search and Rescue Officer, Lagos Territorial Office explained.

Another Tanker Explosion Leaves Many Critically Injured In Lagos

 

Residents of the Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos were on Thursday afternoon sent into a panic as a rancorous explosion rocked the neighborhood.

What started out as a wet and rather calm day quickly turned into a frenzy at about 3:30 pm when a loaded gas tanker exploded around the Iju Hill axis of Ajuwon road.

Some witnesses say at least one person died in the blast that comes at a moment when the nation is trying to come to terms with a similar carnage that left almost 30 including students, dead in Lokoja.

The incident in Lagos left 16 persons critically injured, while scores of buildings and many cars were destroyed, some beyond repair.

A Damaged Tanker?

Speaking to Channels Television on Thursday at the site of the explosion, LASEMA’s Director of Operations, Engr Olatunde Akinsanya said the 16 injured persons were taken to the Iju Water Works clinic.

Akinsanya revealed that the ill-fated 30 ton LPG tanker which was being operated by Manna Gas Ltd, was supposed to offload its content at a gas station, but the station’s owner reportedly refused to allow him because a seal had been broken, indicating that the content had been tampered with.

Enraged by the refusal of the station manager to offload the content in his tanker, the driver moved out of the premises.

A few meters away from the gas station, the front tire of the tanker burst and the gearbox compartment struck the ground causing a spark that led to an explosion when it came in contact with gas that was leaking from the tanker.

The vehicle ended in a ditch, where a second explosion erupted.

Eyewitnesses told Channels Television that the second explosion sent the tanker flying and destroying buildings in its path, including a church.

The impact of the explosion spread about 300 radii from the scene of the incident, the LASEMA official said.

It was not yet clear at the time of reporting this story whether the driver of the tanker was still alive as he seemed to have sustained third-degree burns.

“I would have died with my children”

Narrating her close shave with death, Mrs. Maduka Lovelyn, a fruit seller said she had just returned from the market and was arranging her wares when the first blast erupted.

Mrs. Maduka and her kids were tending to customers when they saw a thick cloud of smoke rising a few meters from where her stall is situated.

The perturbed mother said she and her children were lucky to have escaped because they fled at the first cry of “fire! fire!” by some other residents who were closer to the blast spot.

“We were scared as we saw the smoke, it was too much,” Mrs. Maduka stressed as she revealed how it took a race through marsh and mud to get her family to safety.

Increasing casualty figures

Earlier in the day, the Lagos State Government had put the casualty figure at 16, however, a post-disaster assessment late on Thursday revealed that the total number of casualties is 30, consisting of 10 adult females and 20 adult males.

The report further shows that two of the 16 in critical conditions have been referred to the General Hospital in Ikeja.

LASEMA figures suggest that a total of 23 buildings were destroyed in the blast, while 15 vehicles were left with varying degrees of dents.

Prominent among the buildings destroyed are the X and Y Event Center and the Idera Oluwa Plank Market where 15 shanty shops were engulfed.

A tragedy, one too many

The fires stirred by the explosion have been extinguished and damping down has being carried out, but many questions trailing this incident are yet to be answered.

One such question is what should be done or is being done to ensure that there is no repeat of such an ugly incident, as Nigerians have witnessed such a horror too many times, with some happening in quick successions.

Thursday’s explosion comes just a few hours after 23 persons were killed following a tanker explosion at the Felele axis of Lokoja the Kogi State capital.

Over five vehicles were completely burnt in the road crash and eyewitnesses say some of the victims include students of Kogi Polytechnic.

The accident occurred after a truck laden with Premium Motor Spirit lost control following a brake failure and rammed into five other oncoming vehicles.

Eyewitnesses say over 50 people may have been killed in the blaze, including some residents who were waiting to board commercial vehicles by the roadside.

Reacting to the explosion, the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, expressed shock and sorrow.

“It is very sad to learn of the tragic loss of lives, many vehicles, property and other valuables in the petrol tanker fire,” he said.

Two-day mourning was declared in honour of the victims of the tanker explosion, but the masses ask for more to be done.

As with several incidents of this nature, many become emotional, sometimes tempers run wild and people blame the government.

Often, promises are made with assurances that the root causes of these accidents will be looked into, and the people can only hope that in no distant time, words will be matched with action, to ensure that such disasters are averted.

Water Supply: Lagos Looking To Meet Water Needs By 2020

Waterwork_in_Lagos

The Lagos State government says it is looking to meet resident’s water needs by 2020, as work has continued in the on-going 70 million gallons per day Adiyan Waterworks, Phase Two project in Oke-Aro.

The State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, on Tuesday, inspected the works and told reporters that his administration had moved from the short term plan, which involved building micro- waterworks to resuscitating some old ones, to the medium term execution.

“The plan is that, hopefully, by 2020 we should be able to meet the water needs of Lagosians”.

Describing the Adiyan Waterworks project as the third major waterworks intervention in Lagos, the Governor pointed out that his administration started with the micro- waterworks to resuscitate some of those built by past governors of the State, to get them to full optimisation and to add more as a short plan in the first term.

“This is the medium-term plan in the second term.

“The long term plan is to have more of these now being built with partnership with the Private Sector to deliver more of this. And so this is direct funding; but the long term plan is that we will make at least two or three more of this type to be able to meet the water demand of Lagosians,” he said.

The first major waterworks intervention in Lagos was the Iju Waterworks which was built in 1910 and after that, there was no other major intervention until 1991 when the Adiyan Waterworks was first built.

“That was a long time of almost a century, and the population continues to grow,” Governor Fashola said.

The Governor, who had earlier handed over a total of 31 classrooms in two government schools in Ifako-Ijaiye and Iju-Ishaga, expressed satisfaction with the progress of water at the site, saying it was an indication of readiness by the contractors to work even at night.

“You can see the progress that is being made. We have just been shown the treatment plant, the filtration and the sedimentation and also the work going on in the main reservoir tanks where the concrete walls and foundations are being laid. So it is work in progress,” he said.

According to the Governor, “Apart from the micro-waterworks and mini-waterworks that we have had, this is the third major intervention.

Governor Fashola, however, said provision of water alone is never the answer, pointing out that there is also the need to conserve the water.

“Like all utilities, you can never over-supply water. So there must be adequacy of supply, minimisation of waste, conservation and the right economics to be able to ensure that the project and the utility pays for itself and delivers on expectation,” he said.

 

Senate Wants Dana Airline’s Operating Certificate Revoked

The Senate on Tuesday asked the Federal Government to revoke the operating certificate of Dana Airline.

This resolution followed the consideration of the report on the crash of Dana Airline by the Senate and House of Representatives Joint Committee on Aviation.

The Senate also recommended that the Director General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Harold Demuren be removed from office for negligence and incompetence.

Dana Airline resumed operations last month, seven months after its fleet was grounded following the crash of its flight 992 on a scheduled flight from Abuja to Lagos.

Aviation authorities had temporarily grounded the airline following the crash of its plane in Iju-Ishaga, a Lagos suburb, on June 3, 2012, killing over 160 passengers and crew members as well as those on the ground in the neighbourhood.

The House of Representatives had in December made public the recommendations by its Committee on Aviation which, among others, directed that Dana Air should be stopped from operating and that Mr Demuren, should be sacked.

Pipeline Vandals Cause Pollution in Iju-Ishaga

Residents of Oluwole Bisiriyu street, Ilori Coker Crescent, Kayode Williams estate and Akute-Odo, in Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos state were shocked Saturday morning when they woke up to discover that the air around their area had been polluted.

The pollution led to some of the residents suffering stomach upset, nausea and cough.

It was gathered that the pollution was caused by Premium motor Spirit (PMS) that was leaking from a Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipeline, which was vandalized overnight.

Confirming the incident to Channels Television, the information officer of the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, south west zone, Mr. Ibrahim Farinloye said the agency, alerted the safety personnel of the NNPC as soon as it got the complaint.

NNPC officials immediately responded and fixed the ruptured pipeline.

Dana Crash: Absence Of Pathologist Stalls Inquest

The coroner’s inquest into the 3 June 2012 Dana Plane crash in Lagos has failed to resume on Tuesday following the absence of a consultant pathologist, John Obafunwa.

153 passengers aboard the plane and some residents of Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos State, where the plane crash occurred, were killed in the incident.

The inquest had been due to resume on Tuesday following the dismissal of a suit filed against the proceedings by a group, Civil Aviation Round Table.

The suit was dismissed by Justice Okon Abang of a Federal High Court in Lagos for lacking in merit.

Mr Obafunwa, who is the Chief Medical Examiner of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja had testified on July 25,2012 on the cause of death of the victims.

He was expected to be cross-examined on his testimony and submit the autopsy reports to the court.

Following his absence, the Lagos State Coroner, Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe said the proceedings could not go on.

Also to be cross-examined is Capt. Oscar Wilson, Director of Flight Operations, Dana Airlines who had also given evidence before the inquest.

Magistrate Oyetade has therefore adjourned the inquest till the 18th of Jan. 2013 to enable summons to be served on witnesses and parties expected to testify before the court.

FAAN names Dana Airline as best domestic airline in Nigeria

Despite an air crash that claimed the lives of 153 people four months ago, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) over the weekend named Dana Air as the best domestic carrier for 2011.

According to FAAN’s Regional General Manager, Mr. Chris Bature, said the airline is yet to commence flights since the crash but was awarded the prize for its good customer relations and prompt payment of dues.

The Federal Government seized Dana Air’s license following the air disaster, but restored the license 93 days after the crash.

Speaking at the occasion, Bature stated that the airline was selected because of its outstanding performance and punctuality while Lufthansa Airlines was also selected as the best international carrier for the same period.

He explained that “mode of selection includes passenger capacity, frequency of the landing and take-off, their response to payment of bills.”

“Among the domestic carriers, they were the best. They had the best volume; they were punctual in their operations” he added.

Reacting to a question on the timing of the award which is coming four months after the June 3 Dana Air crash, Mr Bature explained that the award would have taken place earlier in the year and that the reward came after the operator’s license had been restored.

“In all fairness, they did their best and we need to recognize that and encourage them to get back to their feet,” he added.

Dana’s Station Manager at the Nnamdi Azikwe Airport in Abuja, Mr. Kayode Adeniran, stated that the airline’s commitment to best customer service and timely departure earned its the award.

“We have this policy in our company that we must not delay passengers, we have introduced another type of system. If your flight is delayed by 40 minutes, we give refreshments to all passengers that already had their boarding passes. So people will be impressed by our service” he said.

He however lamented the loss of lives by the crash, stressing that the operator visited and commiserated with the families of the deceased.

To prevent such a recurrence, the station manager revealed that the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has embarked on series of investigation to ascertain when the airline would be allowed to commence operations following the lifting of the ban on the airline by the federal government.

He noted that the airline has commenced demonstration flights as stipulated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and that the operation would run until NCAA certifies the carrier fit to resume full operations.

The Dana Air crash on June 3, killed the entire 153 passengers and crew members on board and a number of people as the plane crashed into a densely populated area of Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos state. A number of buildings were also destroyed by the crash.

 

 

Aviation experts commend FG for restoring Dana Air’s operational licence

Captain Benson Ikponwosa commended the federal government for admitting that it suspended the license of Dana Airline in error.

The aviation expert said Nigerians have turned into “square pegs placing themselves into other peole’s round holes”.

Ikponwosa arhued that air crashes have occurred in other parts of the world and governments are not quick to take harsh decisions against the operators of the crashed air plane.

He said “You cant punish someone unless you find that person culpable of some infractions”.

Another expert on  aviation matters, Ikechi Uko, also agreed with Ikponwosa claiming that the error has a long history.

He said the government had made similar errors in the past when it  suspended the operational licence of Sosoliso ad Bellview Airlines after their aircrafts had crashed.

He said statistics show that air travel is the safest form of transportation in Nigeria.

Mr Uko compared figures from Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) on how many people die in road accidents in four years to the number of people that have died in plane crashes to back his claim.

Photo journalist brutalised by LASUTH staff as release of Dana Air corpses commence

A photojournalist from Leadership Newspapers, Benedict Uwalaka, was on Thursday brutalized by staff of Lagos State University teaching Hospital (LASUTH) mortuary for taking shots of events while the corpses were released.

Mr Uwalaka was at the premises of the hospital with his colleagues from other media house on the invitation of the hospital’s management to cover the release of identified corpses of the Dana Air Crash victims.

Mr Uwalaka had moved closer to the vehicle where a corpse was to be placed when an official of the hospital seized his camera and another one hit him on the head with a bottle.

But some official of LASUTH approached and seized his camera while some others beat him up, tearing his shirt and leaving his face swollen and bloodied.

The assault on the photo-journalist irked his colleague and they went with him to report at the nearby police station.

Returning to the hospital to collect his camera, Mr Uwalaka was hit from behind with a bottle on his head by another official of the teaching hospital, leaving him with more wound on his head and bruised face.

 

 

 


Worst place to be a journalist

The assault on Mr Uwalaka is coming on the heels of a report that places Nigeria as the second worst nation as regards the safety of journalists in its territory.

According to the bi-annual ‘Killing the Messenger survey’ of news media causalities produced by the Cardiff School of Journalism for the International News Safety Institute (INSI), the survey claimed that some 70 journalists and support staff were killed while on assignment in the first half of the year 2012 alone.

15 of them were confirmed dead between January and June in Syria where a bloody civil war has raged on, while in Nigeria, seven journalists were said to have been killed in bomb attacks carried out by fundamentalist sect Boko Haram.

Other countries listed after Nigeria are Brazil, Somalia, Indonesia, where five journalists died in a plane crash, and Mexico.

The toll compares with 124 for the whole of 2011 and 56 for the first seven months of last year. And 70 may be a conservative figure as INSI has recorded the deaths of an additional 30 news people where it was unclear whether the killings were related to their work, the INSI reported.

“Journalists are more than ever in the cross-hairs of the enemies of freedom,” said INSI Director Rodney Pinder.

“Despite some encouraging international political moves to halt the murder, the gun and the bomb remain the favoured method of censorship in far too many countries.

“Each and every killing chokes the free flow of information without which free societies cannot function.”

 

Crashed Dana Air suffered a bird strike in 2010

The Dana Air Flight 0092 which crashed into a residential area in Iju Ishaga area of Lagos state on the 3rd of June, had an engine failure two years before the crash.

That’s according to the Head of Corporate Communications of Dana Airline, Tony Usidamen who testified before the Coroner of Alimosho District of Lagos state, Oyetade Komolafe.

The Dana Air MC Donnell Douglas (MD 83) Plane, crashed into a residential building in the populous area killing all 153 passengers on board and nine others on ground.

The Coroner is conducting an inquest into the cause of the crash.

According to Mr Usidamen, the engine failure which occurred in 2010 was as a result of a bird’s strike.

He stated that when the company discovered that the engine was bad, the plane returned to safety to change the engine to ensure a secured flight.

Answering questions from the Coroner on how many times the airline had this issue with the plane, the Dana Air official said he was not in a position to say and could not ascertain if the plane was safe to embark on the journey of the 3rd of June.

The witness also denied knowledge of the name of the engineer who certified the air worthiness of the plane just as he also denied that the plane had a hydraulic lick before the crash.

With such response, the Coroner threatened to arrest him if he continued to evade questions and he was subsequently compelled to give the name of the flight engineer who certified the plane.

Magistrate Komolafe declared that the engineer would be invited to answer questions at the inquest especially as the witness testified that the plane was in good condition and had actually made two trips before it crashed on its third trip.

An official of Dana airlines a day after the crash confirmed to Channels Television that the ill-fated Dana Air flight 0992, was faulty and the owners of the airline threw caution to the wind and insisted that the plane must fly in a bid to maximise profit .

Another witness from the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Engineer Emmanuel Dialla told the Coroner that the cockpit voice recorder retained 31 minutes of the flight’s conversation adding that from the records, the flight crew became worried about the condition of the plane as early as 10 minutes into the flight.

The inquest continues on the 6th of August when the witness is expected to conclude his testimony.

The Minister of Aviation is also expected to appear at the inquest next week.

 

Families of Dana crash victims will be paid their claims – NAICOM

The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) on Wednesdayt said it will ensure the payment of insurance claims to beneficiaries of the victims of the Dana Air plane crash in Lagos.

The Commission’s position was contained in a statement by the Head, Corporate Communications, Lucky Fiakpa, who gave the assurance that the aircraft in question was properly insured and all reinsurance contracts were duly entered into.

The statement also stated that seven local underwriters were involved in the insurance.

NAICOM consoled the families of those who lost their lives in the ill-fated flight, noting that no amount of money was sufficient to compensate them.

Dana Air’s Flight 0992 crashed into residential buildings in the Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos on Sunday, killing the 153 people on board.

Several others were also killed as the aircraft plunged into the two-storey building.

Four houses demolished at Dana Air crash site

Rescue agencies on Wednesday completed the demolition of four houses in Iju Ishaga, Lagos following Sunday’s crash of a Dana Aircraft.

Rescue workers packed the debris of the ill-fated MD83 aircraft as well as the rubble of the buildings into trucks that took them away from the site of the crash.

Dana Air, Flight 0992 from Abuja to Lagos crashed into a residential building in Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos state on 3 June  as the air craft approached the airport’s runway, killing all 153 people on board and several others in the building.

The area is expected to be fumigated, to prevent the outbreak of diseases.