BRT Bus kills 60 in Lagos

Bus Rapid Transit vehicle knocked down a 60-year-old man in the Irawo area, along the Ikorodu Road.

This is just as a fire from a one-room apartment on Gbadamosi Street, Agbole Itire, Lagos State, has claimed the life of a two-year-old girl, Angel Johnson.

The incident reportedly resulted from an abandoned candle fire lit by the mother of the victim.

PUNCH Metro learnt that the fire incident happened around 9pm on Saturday while Johnson and her five-year-old elder brother were sleeping.

The victim’s mother was said to have lit the candle and went out to do something on the premises, leaving Johnson and her elder brother in the apartment.

It was gathered that the burning candle fell from a table on which it was placed, caused fire that engulfed the table and escalated to other parts of the room.

While the victim’s brother was awoken by the smoke and managed to escape, she was suffocated.

A resident, Lamide Bello, told PUNCH Metro that by the time the woman and her neighbours were alerted, the apartment had become engulfed in flames.

He said, “The woman lit up a candle and went out to do something in the compound. The candle fell from the table and the fire broke out. Her two children were sleeping at that time. Nobody knew that the apartment was on fire until the boy rushed out. His sister was two years and some months old. People tried to rescue her after alerting the Lagos State Fire Service, but the girl did not make it. Their father was not around.”

The Director, Lagos State Fire Service, Mr. Rasaq Fadipe, who confirmed the incident, said emergency responders were able to prevent the fire from spreading to other apartments in the building.

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 Fadipe urged residents to be meticulous in the use of candles and promptly alert the agency during emergencies.

He said, “The woman was said to have lit a candle and went out. The child (Johnson) was two-and-a-half-year-old. The child must have died from the inhalation of fumes resulting from the fire. People must be guided in the use of candles.

“There must not be combustible materials closer to it and it must have a metal base. Don’t ever leave it overnight; it is delicate. Instead of candles, we can use rechargeable lamps, which do not have any hazard.

“If there is any fire incident, people should quickly call the emergency number even if they know they can tackle the fire. By the time it is getting out of hands, the fire service would have been there already.”

In the accident on the Ikorodu Road, our correspondent learnt that the sexagenarian, Johnny Idika, wanted to cross to the other side of the road when the BRT bus, en route to Ikorodu, knocked him down.

A commuter, Deji Olayiwola, said the man died on the spot, adding that the driver of the bus had been handed over to the police at the Owode Onirin division.

He said, “The accident occurred around 7pm on Friday close to Irawo. The bus was speeding. Drivers are supposed to slow down at that spot because there is no pedestrian bridge there and people want to cross. I have complained to the BRT management on many occasions about their drivers.  The man died on the spot and the police from the Owode Onirin division intervened.”

But the Chief Security Officer, Primero Transport Services Limited, which is managing the BRT corridor, Mr. Cletus Okodolor, denied that the driver was speeding.

He, however, said the firm had initiated talks with the deceased’s family for an amicable resolution.

He said, “The accident happened on the BRT exclusive lane. There are areas provided for pedestrians to cross; they are supposed to use either the pedestrian bridge or the walkway provided specifically for them. The pedestrian bridge was not too far from where the accident happened. He could have used the bridge. People might assume that the driver was on speed because the man died.

“We train our drivers and they are not to exceed 45km/hr on the lane.

“However, we are trying to see what we can do for the family. Even though the man was on our lane, the company will assist the family for the burial and other things. We sympathise with the family.

“We are to serve the public and make sure they enjoy our services.

“We are not bringing sorrow to people.

“We urge commuters to understand that the BRT lane is meant for our buses only. They should not be entering it anyhow. They should use the provided crossing area.”

The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Chike Oti, confirmed the accident and the resolution move between the transport firm and the deceased’s family.

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