The failure of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) to repair a faulty portion of the rail track caused Thursday’s train derailment at Mongoro, in the Agege area of Lagos, the Lagos State Management Authority (LASEMA) has said.
The last three coaches of a train heading towards Ebutte Metta from Iju left the tracks at Agege-Ashade ram market area around 7:15 am, while the remaining coaches continued on its journey.
In a statement issued by Kehinde Adebayo, its spokesperson, on Thursday, LASEMA said its investigation had shown that the affected coaches detached from its train after it approached the faulty section of the track in Mongoro.
The statement noted that men of the Lagos State Transport Management Authority (LASTMA) had informed the appropriate authorities prior to the incident about the faulty track.
The emergency agency, however, stated that “pending engineering works” was expected to be carried out tonight.
“As the LRT waited at the rail crossing at Mongoro, Agege while en route an incident scene at about 7:15am, the train moving en route Ebute Metta via Oshodi from Iju with full capacity passengers derailed from its tracks.
“Further investigation revealed that the train derailed as a result of faulty tracks at the level crossing which has been reported by LASTMA men in the area and was noted for pending engineering works tonight,” the statement read.
The emergency agency confirmed that no casualty was recorded, but noted that “information gathered at the scene” revealed that eyewitnesses and bystanders rushed the injured to nearby hospitals for medical first aid.
But the number of the injured was, however, not disclosed in the statement.
LASEMA added that efforts are ongoing by a combined team of security and emergency agencies to evacuate the derailed coaches, noting that a crane from the NRC has been dispatched to the site.
“Efforts are currently on ground to evacuate the derailed coaches as the NRC crane has been despatched (sic) to the scene from Lagos Island.
“The combined efforts of the GM LASEMA, LRT, LRU PARAMEDICS, LRU FIRE, LASAMBUS, FRSC, RRS, LASTMA and Nigeria Police are on ground to ensure swift recovery.
“Recovery operation ongoing by the officials of the Nigeria Railway Corporation,” the statement read.
However, Niyi Alli, NRC Director of Operations, said the action of articulated truck drivers are to be blamed for the train derailment.
Speaking to journalists at the scene of the incident, Alli claimed that the purported recklessness of heavy-duty drivers at the rail level crossing was responsible for the shift in the track’s position.
Alli said: “The truth of the matter is that if you are driving a heavy truck and you get to a rail level crossing, you need to be careful so you that your truck won’t destroy the track.
“We want to resume service as soon as possible so we need to do everything necessary to ensure that the track is back.”
He urged the drivers of heavy-duty trucks to carefully navigate the tracks when they approach the rail level crossing.