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As woman is struck dead by moving train, Lagos growls for safer rail crossings

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Image Credits: NRC.

Lagos recorded yet another death on Wednesday as a fast-moving train claimed yet another victim along the Oshodi-Ikeja rail track. The victim who was said to be a staff at a private firm in Ikeja GRA had just returned from burying her mother in Akwa Ibom State. As the one month leave which her employer had granted her had yet to elapse, she had returned to the hustle and bustle of Lagos only to meet her end.

An eye witness mentioned that this particular incident happened suddenly. According to her, the lady was crossing the rail track without noticing an oncoming train coming from the Oshodi axis. She had bent down to pick something from the ground as onlookers who were quick to notice the train, shouted out to her to run to safety. But it appeared she did not hear any of the shouts and in a few seconds, she was struck and her body flung aside.

A typical level crossing in Lagos.

Even though the train had struck her with great impact, the body, surprisingly, was not crushed. None of the eye-witnesses present could explain or give reason. Another eye witness pleading anonymity said that the train ‘miraculously’ hit her from the side, almost totally dislocating one of her arms, and flinging her in the opposite direction. On immediate check it was revealed that the girl was still breathing but soon lost consciousness as she did not receive immediate first aid.

As at the time this report was filed, the corpse had been covered with polythene while law enforcement agents stood around the scene of the accident awaiting anyone who could identify the body and possibly claim the corpse. They also prevented members of the crowd from taking pictures.

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It would appear that such accidents are a regular occurrence along the Oshodi-Ikeja rail track as bystanders excitedly recounted a few other such accidents in the recent past. In 2018, a female youth corps member was reported to have been killed in a similar circumstance.

This recent accident brings to the fore, the need to ensure personal life and safety along the railway tracks by providing pedestrian bridges or tunnels at railway crossings; and when such facilities are provided, to ensure that pedestrians make use of these bridges. In the absence of such facilities, conspicuous notices could be strategically placed at such crossings to warn both pedestrians while train drivers should be trained to approach such crossings with caution, slowing down and using their horns to warn straying pedestrians.

The death of the young lady is one in an increasing number of avoidable deaths at rail crossings. Only timely and effective measures can reduce further accidents.

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