The director general of the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB), Mr. Akin Olateru, has said that the report on the train accident which occurred on Thursday, March 9 in the Ikeja area of Lagos would be released soon.
Recall a passenger train collided with a fully-loaded Lagos State government staff bus marked Lagos: 04A-48LA at the PWD rail crossing, off the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway.
The accident resulted in six fatalities while 53 were injured.
Speaking during courtesy visits to the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), and Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Olateru said the accident report was in the offing adding that the essence of the new NSIB Act 2022 is to minimise accidents in all the modes of transportation in the country and save more lives.
He said the Act followed the due process before it was enacted and assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“It is a decision of the federal government to do this. Before the passage of this Act, the Nigerian Railway Corporation was the regulator, investigator and also the service provider.
“In the wisdom of the federal executive council in 2018, I made a presentation for centralising all accident investigation in Nigeria in all modes of transportation.”
Responding, the managing director of the corporation, Mr. Fidet Okhiria, expressed delight to work with NSIB.
He said the coming on board of the bureau would improve safety of lives and equipment, while recurrence would also be prevented.
On the Ikeja train accident, Okhiria said the loss of lives would have been more catastrophic, but for the expertise of the train driver.
According to him, no fewer than 1,000 passengers were on board that train on that day.
He said if the train driver had applied the brakes immediately, the train would have derailed and more lives would have been lost.
He said the mandate of the NSIB to investigate train accidents is not a threat to the organisation.
Instead, he said it would serve as a boost to the rail system in the country.
“The coming onboard of NSIB into the investigation of accidents in the rail sector will make the job of railway easier. It is a welcome development. We are willing to work with them. This is the direction of the government and we have to abide by it. We will work with them.
“How does it threaten us? The agency is not a threat to us in anyway; rather, we intend to work with them to make the rail sector safer and better for everyone. This is the law of the land and everyone must obey it,” he added.
At LASEMA, Olateru assured the state government that the bureau would do a thorough job and come up with safety recommendations.
He, however, explained that NSIB is not a fault finding agency saying it only makes safety recommendations to forestall a recurrence.
Olateru also revealed that the NSIB has well-trained personnel to handle the investigation.
“We have 45 well-trained investigators who are well-trained in the United States, Singapore Academy and others. So, we do what we do well. It takes time to carry out investigation.
“But, for this, I don’t think it will take time because some of our investigators have already been trained on train and maritime investigation.
“All the accidents and serious incidents that we have investigated in the past, we made them public. There is no hiding of anything, but the thing is we don’t blame anyone. We have the causal and contributory factors that would tell you why the accident happened,” he said.
In his response, agency’ s director general, Dr Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, requested for a partnership with the bureau on capacity building, training and exchange of idea.
“We wish to partner with your organisation, effectively and efficiently. You can use your money to build us up. You won’t regret it. I pioneered LASEMA in 2005 due to the bomb blast of January 27, 2002, which occurred in Lagos.
“Emergency has evolved over the years; we are now introducing what we call timely warning because we want to be proactive and for us to do this, we need your organisation so that there can be a form of lesson learnt from any emergency that occurs. We are very happy that you are with us,” he said.