Once more, the issue of transport safety, especially rail transport mode safety has rear its head again, with the recent incidents on railway tracks in different parts of the country.
Recently, 52 cows were killed by a train on the Abuja-Kaduna route. According to reports, the incident took place at Kasarami in the Kagarko Local Government Area of the state.
Worthy of note is the fact that the Kaduna state Commissioner of Police, Ahmad Abdulrahman, stated “Fulani herdsmen, who passed the night at Kasarami, asked if they could cross over with their cattle and were misinformed that there were no rail services on Sunday.
“It was when they were half way that a fast moving train from Rigasa Station on the way to Abuja approached. I want to assure the people of Kaduna State that what happened was an accident and no life was lost; only the cattle.
Also, in July this year, at least three persons were killed and several others injured when a train hit a commercial bus at Pen Cinema railway crossing in Lagos State.
An eyewitness, Mr Raji Oladimeji told newsmen that the accident occurred when the bus driver was trying to make U-turn on the rail line. “We warned the driver not to make U-turn at that particular point when a train was approaching but he refused.
“So, it was in the process of making the turn that the approaching train crushed the bus where people hanging on the train fell off and three die instantly while other sustained various injuries,”
The Lagos District Manager, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Mr Jerry Oche, who confirmed the incident, said the accident happened at 9.30 a.m. “We were informed that a bus was trying to make a U-turn at the railway line this morning at Agege Pen Cinema area when a moving train crushed it in the process”.
Safety in the transport sector is very critical because strict adherence to safety rules goes a long way in ensuring smooth operations and prevention of loss of lives and property.
Because of the increase in railway transport activities, and the expected addition of more schedules, the government should urgently overhaul and expand its rail safety programmes. More safety signs are needed, more personnel should be engaged, level crossings should be improved and modernised etc.
Importantly too, public enlightenment should also be intensified, using both above and below the line channels.