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Two days before the governorship and state assembly elections, candidates and political parties, yesterday, traded accusations over plots to unleash violence and rig the exercise.

The accusations and counter-accusations were made as the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, commenced the distribution of election materials across the 774 local councils of the country.

Distributing the election materials to the 16 LGAs of Ekiti State, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Professor Ayobami Salami, assured citizens of the state of free, fair and credible elections on Saturday.

“INEC is prepared, we are more prepared than we were during the Presidential election and we would put everything in place to ensure a free, fair, credible and laudable election.”

Across the states, the other RECs spoke in like manner.

APC, LP, PDP, SDP fight dirty in Lagos

In Lagos, the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC; Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; Labour Party, LP; and Social Democratic Party, SDP, were at one another’s jugular over alleged plots to rig the elections.

Cartels in Lagos against me — PDP candidate

The PDP Governorship Candidate, Olajide Adediran, who presented his wife, Mariam, who arrived from the United States of America to stakeholders at his Liberty House campaign office, exposed moves by cartels and godfathers in PDP and APC to work against his victory.

Jandor, however, expressed confidence to triumph at the end of the day, against all odds, saying “the battle is of God and not of Jandor or of any godfather.”

Addressing the crowd, mainly women leaders and members of PDP across 20 Local Government Areas of the state, he said he was aware of some godfathers in PDP, who had decided to ensure his defeat at the Saturday polls by endorsing and working for Labour Party candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, as well as APC, apparently referring to PDP chieftain, Bode George and President-elect, Bola Tinubu.  

He said: “We are all aware of the whirlwind in the polity towards this governorship polls in Lagos as a result of activities of some godfathers in PDP and APC, who are bent on subverting the wishes of the majority.

“The leaders have been beating the drums of war for the last few weeks with provocative statements, harassment and propaganda. But am sure all these will soon subside. God has exposed them as they are beating the drums of war.

“Because I resisted the move by a godfather in PDP to pick Rhodes-Vivour as my deputy, they lured him (Rhodes-Vivour) to Labour Party to confront us and stop our dream but this will definitely fail. We are resolute in attaining victory. We have worked hard for it in the last 10 years. The new wave of LP will not stop us.”

Also, the PDP in Alimosho LGA raised an alarm over what it termed attempts by the APC to manipulate the elections against the wish of the majority in the state.

Making the allegation, PDP Chairman of Alimosho LGA, Shodiya Isiaka, at a media briefing at the party’s secretariat in Alimosho called on the umpire INEC to be proactive and ensure free, fair and credible exercise.

I’m worried about intimidation, and harassment of voters — Carew, SDP assembly candidate

Speaking on the issue, Mr Lanre Carew, the Kosofe Constituency 1 Lagos House of Assembly candidate of the SDP, said: “I am concerned about intimidation and harassment. We are already seeing it in APC. They are harassing people, threatening them for liking another person. They go about threatening my supporters. They threaten them with their jobs and harass them where they live. They go as far as using traditional rulers to harass people who stay in some areas. They threaten them to vote for a particular party. We hear rumors that they want to cause mayhem because of how the ‘Obi wave’ swept everywhere. The truth is that we are not scared.”

Daniel, LP Ajeromi-Ifelodun candidate concurs

Also, Mr. Segun Daniel, the LP House of Assembly candidate for Ifelodun Ajeromi Constituency 1, Lagos, alleged that his life and that of LP supporters and agents were being threatened by some groups of thugs who he alleged had been intimidated and threatening that nobody should come out to vote for LP or any other party except for the APC

Daniel, a lawyer, said: “Shocking among them are some Baales using microphones and megaphones to lay curses on people that will ever vote for Labour Party or any other party except the APC.

The Baales threatened to cause serious harm to anybody especially those that will not vote for APC candidates in the forthcoming Saturday election.”

APC kicks as Lagos indigenes endorse Rhodes-Vivour

Meanwhile, prominent indigenes of Lagos State under the auspices of Eko Forum, yesterday, endorsed the LP Governorship Candidate, Mr Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, who they described as a proper son of the soil.

In a statement by its Chairman and General Secretary, Alhaji Ismaila Williams and Elder Olawale Ogundimu respectively, the forum said the decision to back Rhodes-Vivour was taken at the end of an extraordinary meeting on Sunday.

The statement reads: “Members of the Eko Forum from all the 20 local governments, as well as all the 37 local council development areas, met on Sunday in Lagos.

“Members took the decision to support Arc Rhodes-Vivour after carefully appraising the credentials of all other candidates that have put themselves forward to be elected.

“On behalf of the members of our Forum, we want to disabuse the minds of unsuspecting residents that the Igbo ethnic nationality will take over Lagos if Rhodes-Vivour wins.

“Igbo have been living with us in Lagos from time immemorial peacefully; we have intermarried and done a lot of things together for a long time. They never dragged the ownership of our land with us since and why will they do that now?

“This is cheap propaganda which we appeal to our people not to fall for.”

Their endorsements stand for nothing —Lagos APC

However, the Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr Seye Oladejo, said the party will not be distracted noting that the endorsement of Rhodes-Vivour will not stand.

Oladejo said: “Anybody can claim the indigeneship of Lagos State at a time like this. As you know, we are in the peak of elections and it is always convenient to play up any story but we are not distracted by any of that.

“Most of the endorsements they are doing stand for nothing and I can assure you that on Saturday, Governor Sanwo-Olu will be re-elected. His works in the last four years will speak for him and Lagosians sincerely appreciate that. They will re-elect him, there is no doubt about that.”

Jandor not in the race —APC

Also dismissing the allegations of rigging by the PDP candidate and others against the APC said Adediran is not in the race.

 “My sympathy goes to the young man because he worked so hard but he fell like a pack of cards some days to the election. He is not even in the race. To stay relevant, he wants to cook up stories by moonlight as his excuse. I think that is his strategy. He is looking for an excuse for his imminent loss.”

5 Rivers gov candidates bicker with PDP over rigging plots

In Rivers, five governorship candidates accused the INEC of a plot to rig the polls in favour of the PDP, an accusation the ruling party dismissed as unfounded.

The candidates, who raised the alarm were Tonye Cole of the APC, Sobomabo Jackrich of the National Rescue Movement, NRM; Dr Dawari George of the Action Alliance, AA; Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs of Accord, and Chief Tonte Ibraye of the African Democratic Congress, ADC.

The worried candidates in a joint statement saidthey were reliably informed that Governor Nyesom Wike, “has instructed all Local Government chairmen as chief security officers of their respective domain to carry out what he calls ‘Operation No Mercy’ on every other party agent.

“Council Chairmen are to ensure agents representing their parties’ interests do not have access to the Collation Centres. The PDP Government of Rivers has also assured INEC officials of their safety provided they comply with PDP agents to manipulate the process before taking it out to the State Collation Centre.”

In view of the foregoing, the five candidates urged the “INEC and every relevant authority to stop all government officials from accessing the collation centres in accordance with Section 43(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, prohibiting government officials from acting or serving as agents to political parties at elections.

“INEC and relevant security authorities should restrict movement of all Rivers Government officials beginning with Governor Wike down to the chairmen of councils. INEC should ensure all categories of officials prohibited by the Electoral Act stay away from the Collation Centres as their presence will compromise the process.

“That only persons who are party agents according to law and designated INEC officials should have access to the Collation Centres at the Ward, LGA and State levels and only party agents allowed access to the collation centers.”

Rivers PDP reacts

The PDP, in a response, a principal official of the Rivers PDP Campaign Council, said:”By the tone of the allegation, it is a clear case of giving a dog a bad name to hang it.”

Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said: “Five candidates woke up to say INEC wants to rig elections for PDP. How? By what is the proof? It is so unfounded. Anybody can raise such baseless allegations. We know why the morbid fear. None of them stands a chance against Sim Fubara.

“Aside being most qualified, Fubara is riding on the platform of a Rivers PDP that has done so well under Governor Nyesom Wike’s administration. Again they will emerge sore losers on Saturday.”

Protest rocks Imo INEC, PDP vows to resist rigging

In Imo State, the PDP, staged a protest at the Owerri office of the INEC, and vowed that it would resist any attempt to rig the assembly polls in the state.  There will be no governorship election in Imo, this weekend.

The protest was led by Imo State PDP Chairman, Charles Ugwuh.

Ugwu said: “The leadership of the PDP writes to complain and to decry in no uncertain terms the series of atrocities committed by both regular and ad hoc staff of INEC, in connivance with the members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, concerning the Presidential and National Assembly elections in Imo State, which were held on February 25, 2023.

“We were indeed taken aback at the brazenness of the electoral heist perpetrated against our respective parties, and the people of Imo State after the official conclusion of voting, when it had become obvious that the ruling APC was losing massively all over the state.

“It is on record that in Okigwe LGA, elections did not hold in seven electoral wards namely: Ihube, Agbobu, Ndimoko, Ofeimo/Ibinta/Okanachi/Umuowa Ibu, Aku, Umulolo, Ogii, and Amuro Wards, but over 40,000 votes were fraudulently manufactured and credited to APC in this LGA which recorded less than 3,000 authentic votes from the other four wards where elections took place.

“The reckless impunity was replicated in other Local Government Areas, such as Aboh Mbaise, Ehime Mbano, and Oguta, and indeed results from Jigawa State were uploaded and transmitted to INEC’s IREV Portal, in place of the authentic results from those areas.

For Orsu, Oru East, and parts of Orlu LGAs where elections did not hold at all, results from the same Jigawa State were equally uploaded and transmitted to the IREV Portal as results from those areas; and all these were scandalously accepted by your Commission, and declared as real.

“We were also bewildered that on March 10, 2023, fictitious results concocted by your staff and APC agents for Okigwe and other LGAs were being uploaded to the IREV portal in place of the earlier results from Jigawa State. This is indeed a clear indication that your office manipulated the BVAS machines, contrary to INEC’s claims that the machines were programmed to automatically shut down at the end of voting at polling units. We are still wondering how this magic was possible.”

“In the light of the above, we are hereby serving notice to you, members of your staff, and any other interested persons that we shall no longer condone any form of manipulation, or any other acts capable of undermining the corporate will of the people, and the integrity of our electoral system. The people shall resist any act by your Commission or by any other persons, intended to subvert their popular preferences,” he said.

We’ll deal ruthlessly with trouble-makers — DIG

Meanwhile, the Deputy Inspector-General of Police supervising North-West, DIG Hafiz Inuwa, has warned trouble-makers to steer clear of Kano State or bear the brunt should they foment trouble and attempt to disrupt the governorship and state assembly elections.

The DIG stated this while briefing newsmen on the level of preparedness of the police for the elections.

Inuwa said: “I’m here to talk to our officers and men on the need that we must be firm, focused and professional in the discharge of our duties. The police will remain apolitical. We belong to everybody and we belong to nobody. If you obey the rules, certainly we will be with you. But whoever tries to test out collective responsibility and tries to foment trouble, we are ready to deal with the person ruthlessly especially here in Kano.”

Edeoga remains our Enugu gov candidate — LP

The National Chairman of the Labour Party, Mr Julius Abure has declared that Chijioke Edeoga remains the party’s candidate for the Enugu State Governorship Election.

Abure said the clarification became necessary in the light of speculations to the contrary being championed by opponents who were desperate toi unduly benefit from the winning wave of Obidients and the Labour Party.

He said: “The attention of the Party has been drawn to some attempts by some struggling governorship candidates to tap into the anointing of the Obidients/Labour Party  Candidate, Chijioke Edeoga by trying to de-market our candidate instead of selling themselves.

“For the umpteenth time, we want to reiterate that in Enugu State, the Obidients do not have any partnership with anybody or party and directs all our Enugu State Obidients and teeming party supporters to disregard any statements or moves by candidates of other political parties to harvest where they did not sow.

“Our Candidate is Mr Chijoke Edeoga.   Vote for him and all Labour Party Candidates for the House of Assembly massively on Saturday.”

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The Appeal Court sitting in Abuja on Friday set aside the judgement of the Osun State Election Petition Tribunal that annulled the victory of Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party during the July 16, 2022, Osun State governorship election.

The Osun tribunal had annulled Adeleke’s victory and affirmed Gboyega Oyetola of All Progressives Congress as the authentic winner of the poll.

The PUNCH reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission had returned Adeleke as the winner of the poll.

INEC said Adeleke polled 403,371 votes to defeat then-incumbent Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of the APC, who got 375,027 votes

But Oyetola and the APC rejected the result of the poll and headed for the tribunal.

In its January 27, 2023 majority verdict, the Justice Tertse Kume-led tribunal annulled Adeleke’s victory and declared Oyetola the winner of the poll.

However, a minority judgment by Justice B. Ogbuli affirmed Adeleke as the winner of the poll.

Displeased, Adeleke and the PDP headed for the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal heard the appeal on March 13 and reserved its judgment.

But the court of Appeal on Friday set aside the tribunal judgement.

Meanwhile, the court proceeded on five minutes break and will deliver its final judgement after it reconvenes.

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Health & lifestyle




The World Health Organisation said Nigeria had significantly increased its national Tuberculosis case finding by 50 percent in 2021 using innovative approaches.

The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, made this known in her message in commemoration of World TB Day.

World TB Day is marked yearly on March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of this preventable disease and call for accelerated action to end it.

This year’s theme, ‘Yes, we can end TB’, highlights the need to ensure equitable access to prevention and care, in line with the drive towards Universal Health Coverage and Sustainable Development Goals.

Dr. Moeti said it was important to find and diagnose cases of TB so that the patients can be treated, and their contacts offered preventive medication.

“Nigeria is an example of a country that managed to significantly increase national TB case finding by 50 percent in 2021 using innovative approaches such as the expansion of the daily observed treatment protocols, use of digital technologies, Community Active Case Finding, and enlisting Public Private Mix initiatives.

“TB requires concerted action by all sectors: from communities and businesses to governments, civil society, and others,” she said in a press statement.

She said the African Region was on the threshold of reaching a 35 percent TB death reduction as there had been a 26 percent reduction in TB deaths between 2015 and 2021.

“Seven countries — Eswatini, Kenya, Mozambique, South Soudan, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia—have reached a 35 percent reduction in deaths since 2015,” she noted.

She, however, decried the challenges in TB prevention and control.

Old TB vaccine works better when injected into a vein —Researchers

“First, the delayed diagnosis and testing. There is still a notable gap between the estimated number of new infections and case notifications of TB: 40 percent of people living with TB did not know of their diagnosis or it was not reported in 2021. One million people are living with TB in the region and have not been detected.

“Second, the link between TB and HIV. Approximately 20 percent of people newly diagnosed with TB are also living with HIV infection.

“Third, the multi-drug resistant TB. In the African region, only 26 percent of all people living with multi-drug resistance are receiving the appropriate treatment.”

Meanwhile, she hailed the member states for the increasing uptake of new tools and guidance recommended by WHO, resulting in early access to TB prevention and care, and better outcomes.

“In the African Region, the use of rapid diagnostic testing has increased from 34 percent in 2020 to 43 percent in 2021, which will improve countries’ ability to detect and diagnose new cases of the disease.

“We must work together to develop innovative approaches to reach vulnerable populations and ensure that they have access to quality TB care and management.

“The second UN High-level Meeting on TB in September 2023 will provide a rare opportunity to give global visibility to the disease and mobilize high-level political commitment to end TB.

“Ending TB is feasible with the decline in TB deaths and cases, and the elimination of economic and social burdens associated with it.

“Especially today, I urge leaders, governments, partners, communities, and all stakeholders to urgently foster the resilient health systems required to accelerate the TB response so that we can reach the Sustainable Development Goals targets by 2030. Yes, we can end TB in our lifetime,” she added.

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“This life is not fair,” said a wailing woman, as victims of the recent tragic Lagos train-bus accident at the Public Works Department (PWD) Busstop along Agege Motor Road, Lagos, were moved to a triage at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja on Thursday, March 9, 2023.



It was a moment of pain and agony for the families of those who didn’t survive and 79 other victims who suffered severe injuries and had their plans either cut short or altered.

There is the 28-year-old Juliana Aina Oreoluwa, a youth corps member with Lagos State Ministry of Education, who was to finish her service in May 2023, who died with her dreams of pursuing her master’s degree abroad, while 59-year-old Ganiyat Salawudeen, who worked with the Ministry of Finance, the State Treasury Department, on her part would have retired in January 2024.

Lamenting his daughter’s demise, Femi Aina, father of Oreoluwa, said: “I used to tell her that she took the job like she was already a staff member of the state government. She was a very nice girl with visions and ambitions.

“She was preparing to go to the United Kingdom for her master’s programme after her youth service in May, but unfortunately, all her plans had been dashed.”

The incident occurred barely two months after residents of Chikakore, Byazhin, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), watched helplessly as an oncoming train crushed to death, a middle-aged woman, whose name was given as Hajia Selimat Idowu, along rail track.

The late Idowu, according to eyewitness account, was trying to cross the rail track, the only access road in and out of the community, when the accident occurred.

It was said that her vehicle got stuck and sadly, the train rammed into the car, killing her on the spot.

IN the last few years, it has been a catalogue of mishaps on rail tracks. After the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, an accident involving a moving train, a bus and a Toyota Sports Utility Van (SUV) happened near the Nigerian Army Shopping Arena in Oshodi.

In the SUV were a trader and his son, who parked beside the tracks, waiting to enter Oshodi Shopping Complex, Arena, for business.

Unknown to him, metres away from the parking spot, a train had collided with a bus and was dragging it along the tracks. Unfortunately, before the man could move his car to a safe distance, the train had hit it and carried it along the bus and SUV on the tracks before coming to a complete stop. The trader lost his life, and his son was seriously injured in the accident.

Also, on January 10, 2019, at the Ashade railway crossing around Agege-Ikeja, Lagos, a train skidded off its tracks, killing one person and leaving others injured. The railway corporation responded almost immediately to re-rail the train and repaired the track, but if regular maintenance had been carried out in the first place, that accident could have been avoided in the first place.

In March 2018, also around Ikeja, a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member, Nneka Odili, on her way back from the Secretariat, lost her life in a train accident.

The young lady was walking on the rail track with her headphones plugged in and couldn’t hear the horns from the approaching train. She didn’t survive the injuries sustained in the accident.

WHILE it is worrisome that precious lives are being lost due to what experts term negligence on the part of those saddled with safety responsibilities, train accidents have raised the need for a complete overhaul of rail transportation in the country.

According to a 2023 survey by, in 2018 alone, over 500 train accidents were recorded in the country. Of these numbers, loss of control/locomotive failure, accounted for 222 cases, detachment- 113, derailment-101, miscellaneous-36, wash out-32, collision-12, with broken rail/damage on track, accounting for seven cases.

Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Institute for Industrial Security and a security expert, Dr. Wilson Esangbedo, pointed to reasons such incidents occur despite warnings and caution signs displayed along rail tracks.

Sanwo-Olu visit

According to him, a change in value orientation is central to preventing these avoidable train mishaps. “We need to start changing our orientation to driving and understanding how the rail tracks work and know when a train is too close to a car on a rail track, there is a magnetic effect which affects the movement of the vehicle.

“The railway corporation needs to build proper demarcation to protect vehicles and pedestrians crossing the railway. There should be more publicity on safety precautions at the railway intersection.

“Government has not done enough and Nigerians should approach railway intersections with caution to remain safe,” Esangbedo said.

Former chairman of Apapa Branch of Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Ombugadu Maikasuwa Garba, said the recurring train accidents in Nigeria has proven that there is need for a state of emergency in the sector.

He said: “It is very worrisome that precious lives are lost owing to negligence of those saddled with such responsibilities.”

According to him, “train tracks should be routed away from human/vehicular interference to reduce accidents, especially in areas where human activities and vehicular crossing is frequent.”

He also said: “Train tracks should be properly barricaded to prevent unnecessary human and vehicular interaction. This will ensure restrictions of movement along the corridor.

“Further more, in the event of train tracks on roads, electrically controlled barriers manned by competent personnel should be installed appropriately to prevent the entry of humans and vehicles when a train is passing.

“It is the responsibility of NRC to ensure that the needful is done appropriately. The state ministry of transportation and states where they have State Safety Agencies (such as the Lagos State Safety Commission —- LASSCOM) and engineering bodies should be alive to their duties so as to ensure safety of life and property.”

Also, former National Chairman, Nigerian Institution of Highways Transportation Engineers, Dayo Oluyemi, said ideally the intersection between a rail line and a roadway should be a grade-separated intersection.

“However, for economic reasons, we have them usually on same level in Nigeria. Drivers, who often are in a hurry to pass through the junction, usually cause the accidents. If our drivers are disciplined, we will not have these accidents.

“Auto controlled gates are required to be provided at sections where the roadway is intersecting a rail line at the same level,” he said.

For Ibrahim Aledu, a fellow of Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers and Apapa Inspectorate Chief of Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria and Engineering Regulation and Monitoring, the long neglect of the sector has made Nigerians forget the existence of rail transportation.

For the Chief Executive Officer Bethlehem Rail, London, Mr. Roland Ataguba, there is enough blame to go round, though it appeared that the bus driver was primarily at fault.

He pointed out that between Ebute Metta Junction and Agbado, there will be the Lagos-Ibadan standard Guage rail, Lagos-Kano NGR and the Red line LRMT.

“So, how can anyone fathom that level crossings could be appropriate in that corridor?” He wondered.

According to him, level crossings are an accident black spot and Lagos needs total grade separation and the right of way fenced all through otherwise, they should prepare for more of the same as traffic grows.

Ataguba said: “The strategic issues are that a private operator would think differently and act proactively to preempt and mitigate losses. Unfortunately, the sloppy civil service culture of the NRC ensures we are reactive, and no one is held accountable.”

Chief Executive Officer, West Atlantic Cold-Chain and Commodities Limited, Henrii Nwanguma, said since rail is still being reintroduced, provisions must be made for such, because elsewhere, more mature industry exists, there are still incidents and accidents.

Former Dean of the School of Transport and Logistics, Lagos State University (LASU), Prof. Samuel Odewumi, said there are normally different types of rail crossing barricades. It could be human, mechanical or electrical. The one in place at the time of the accident was human.

Late Oreoluwa

According to Odewumi, witnesses on site testified that there was a man waiving a red flag for vehicles to stop. While others obeyed, the bus driver refused and the train ran into it. From the railway authorities, there was a physical barrier, but was removed because of the ongoing construction work at the site. The construction is for total separation of rail and road by making an overpass for the road.

“We hope it will be a wakeup call, especially, since it occurred not so long after the fatal Abuja crossing accident. There must be reawakening from all the stakeholders. There must be continuous enlightenment and education. Let the media, especially radio and television, dedicate some air time for this,” he said.

On what plans Lagos State has to ensure that rail tracks are shielded from pedestrians, vehicles and other straying bodies to ensure safety of lives and property, the Managing Director and CEO of the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), Mrs. Abimbola Akinajo, said from their Strategic Transport Master Plan (STMP), they have six rail lines, and one monorail.

She said: “We are currently implementing two of the lines – Blue and Red. On the Blue Line (Marina to Okokomaiko), there will not be any interaction between train and vehicular traffic. From Orile to Okokomaiko, the train system will sit in the middle of the Lagos Badagry Expressway with no interaction at all with vehicular traffic. The entire corridor will also be fenced off with a palisade fence, made of steel pales, which are attached to horizontal rails connected to sturdy vertical joists or ‘posts’.

“On the Red line, we are sharing tracks with the Federal Government through the NRC. The NRC currently has fenced off the rail corridor. All authorised level crossings are to be closed and replaced with overpass bridges, or flyover to eliminate interaction between vehicular and train traffic. There are 10 authorised level crossings between Agbado and Oyingbo. They are at Jonathan Coker (Fagba), Pen Cinema, Asade, Ikeja, PWD, llupeju bypass. Ogunmokun (Mushin), Fadeyi, Yaba and Oyingbo.

“Lagos State was tasked to construct five and Federal Government to be responsible for the remaining five. Lagos State government has completed the Pen Cinema section with the construction of the Pen Cinema flyover bridge. The other four are located at Ikeja, Ogunmokun (Mushin). Yaba, and Oyingbo are at about 90-95per cent completion.

“The Federal Government is expected to begin the construction of its sections of four overpass bridges having completed the Asade flyover. The four are Jonathan Coker (Fagba), PWD, Ilupeju bypass and Fadeyi.

“However, we plan to work with the Federal Ministry of Transport through the NRC to put temporary barriers at level crossings, where construction of Overpass Bridge is yet to start when we commence operation shortly due to the fact that rail traffic will increase along the corridor.”

Speaking with The Guardian, Managing Director, NRC, Fidelis Okhiria, cautioned motorists to be more careful, while driving on railroads.

Okhiria said modernisation has taken care of the barriers, adding that there should not be rail and road crossing. “We have about 11 overhead bridges that will turn from, and there will be an overpass. There is going to be an overhead bridge at the PWD crossing.”

He said: “You can see that government is putting barriers first, but because there is what we call the level crossing, which at the time the government has developed a policy on modernisation, we had to have separate grades.

The late Salawudeen

“I mean the road and rail will somehow not cross their path. That is what you see at Agege, after Agege, you see the underpass coming from Guinness, same thing you can see construction going on in Oyingbo and Yaba trying to separate the road, but it’s going to be at Jibowu, we cannot do all at the same time not to cause too much traffic jam. However, before this is done, what we have resorted to is a little bit of using communication and human.

“When a train leaves the next station, we inform all the level crossing keepers who happen to man where the road and rail intersect. By doing so, they inform the men there and before the train gets there, they will ensure the road is clear from the rail, and that is what happened that fateful day. All the road vehicles had been stopped, but this bus came from nowhere and the train came and there was a collision.

A crushed vehicle in Kubwa

“Five years back, we developed light and alarm so that when the train is getting close by, an alarm will be raised. This was also vandalised. We did that four times consecutively but were still vandalised. So we now have phones to communicate and make sure that our men are there at the level crossing.

“What people don’t know is that it is not the responsibility of the rail to keep the level crossing, by international standards the rail always have the right of way because it is a permanent way, everybody is expected to know that there is a rail track there and train don’t shift position unlike the road that you turn the steering you don’t have a steering that you turn on the rail, it is the tracks that directs the rail.”

Speaking on why the country is lagging in terms of attaining respectable global standards in rail service, he said: “It is just the level that we have found ourselves. All these things happen in America. Even in India, it is still happening, and China is happening. All we have to do is to change our attitudes and our ways.”

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