Chude Jideonwo, host of #WithChude, discuss how trailer accidents continue to kill citizens in Lagos. The magazine show, #ChudeExplains featured the family of one of the victims of the crash that happened on January 29, 2023 at Ojuelegba, Lagos, Nigeria.
The brother of the deceased, Chidiebere Felix, spoke about how he had seen the incident while returning from church on Sunday, without knowing his brother was involved. It was when he received the call from his wife that he knew his brother was in the accident he had seen earlier that morning. The wife, Nneka also shared how she received the bad news that her husband had died in the accident. “That Sunday morning, my husband went to church with my children. They returned after 30 minutes. So, I asked him why they returned so soon and if they were going out and he said yes that they were going to the headquarters to receive holy communion. I said ‘Ok’ and they left. About 5 hours later, I didn’t see him, so I began to call him. It rang for about four hours. Then I called my brother-in-law’s wife to ask her if they were still in church and she said they weren’t, but the people were still receiving holy communion, so I felt that was why he was not picking up his phone. I waited for another 30 minutes and started calling him again. Somebody picked up the call, immediately the person picked, I started shivering and ended the call. I called back and the person started asking me questions about who I was, so I responded saying I was the wife of the owner of the phone. He asked me where we were staying, at this point I was shivering. The person then said I should send somebody to Ojuelegba police station, and I started wondering why I needed to send someone there. I told him my husband went to church so why do I need to send someone to Ojuelegba police station. I called my husband’s brother and explained the situation to him. He said “ok”. I couldn’t rest so I got dressed and headed to the police station. Getting there, I met my brother-in-law, crying”
Chidiebere Felix lamented, “I have been living in Ojuelegba since I got to Lagos in 1996. Every year, the containers usually fall on the bridge, sometime, twice in a year. Some will wipe out an entire family, while some people will survive. I could never have imagined someone I know would be in that situation let alone my own brother. He shared the problems they faced getting the body from the police custody, and the silence from the government and ministry of transport after releasing the body and how justice has not been served, as the truck owner is still on the run”.
Elijah, a truck driver in Lagos shared some of the causes of the gruesome road accidents, “Some drivers are very careless, and some owners are very careless. If you tell the owner of the truck that the spring is bent, he will say, manage it like that. Then, you will still carry a load of over 40 tons on the truck. After a while the spring will break and the container will fall. My first accident was in Tafa on my way to Kano, where my brake failed. If it had happened inside Lagos, I would have killed a lot of people. It was only me on one way and I found a way to steady the truck.” Speaking on ways to mitigate the accidents, he shared, “Number one, they should help us check maintenance. See this maintenance issue, even my own life isn’t safe. I drove one truck that the front tyre had broken. The government cannot give me a job, so if I say I won’t work, I cannot steal. I have to keep managing the trailer in that condition so that I can get another offer. This container work isn’t my specialty, I just started driving it. My specialty is driving ‘body’. But there are no jobs, so I have to drive the container, because I have no one to feed me. If I go to my friend to ask for money, he won’t give it to me, so I have to manage. The trucks have faulty brakes, which is why when they encounter something suddenly and try to apply the brake, it usually ends in accidents. But if it’s a new truck, once you apply the brakes thrice, before you get there, the truck will stop. So, they should help us look into maintenance. Side mirrors are the first things the area boys will break without even knowing their importance. They’ll throw stones at your windscreen, ready to damage the entire truck. If you sit in my truck and I take you to ‘Iyana Iba’, your clothes will be stained with blood. So, tell me, you accept a job of 120,000 and pay 80,000 naira to area boys, how can one think of maintenance, knowing that I’ll still buy fuel and pay the driver? There’s no way to take care of the maintenance. New trucks don’t fall containers, only old trucks fall containers, with the exception of a sharp bend or a bad road.”
#ChudeExplains is a news magazine show that investigating trending cultural phenomena across Nigeria and ultimately Africa. #ChudeExplains topics from BBL to polyamory, homosexuality to gender identity, paternity fraud to Canada immigration, ‘side chicks’ to ‘one chance’, building collapse to polygamy, ‘baby’s mama’, from ‘Yoruba Demons’ to money rituals, from Niger Delta militancy to Gen Z mental health.
Watch the excerpt here: