Railways absolves self, declares victim trespasser
The management of Nigeria Railways Corporation (NRC), yesterday, absolved self in the Tuesday’s train mishap in Enugu that claimed a life and caused injuries on others.
The corporation also described the victim, Ikechukwu Imediagwu from Isikwuato in Abia State, a “trespasser”, saying that relevant rules will be applied for his corpse to be released to the family for burial.
Imediagwu was crushed to death at about 5.10 pm on Tuesday by a Kano bound passenger train arriving from Port Harcourt marked 9KL at the Ogbete-Main market rail crossing in Enugu.
His remains were later carried by Policemen from the Railways Police station and deposited at the Eastern Nigeria Medical Centre, mortuary.
Officials of the state government, led by the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Sam Nwobodo, had expressed anger over what they termed the ‘non-functionality” of the barriers at the crossing as well as over speeding by the driver.
They had also said that staff of the corporation were not at their duty posts to issue warning signals on residents crossing the rail line before the train bumped into the market road.
But reacting to the development in an interview with The Guardian, NRC’s Regional District Manager (East), Mr Ola Adeeyinwo,said that it was not a case of malfunctioned or incompetent staff, but that of negligence from the road users.
According to him, the victim was part of three persons in a 608 bus attempting to make a u-turn on the rail track before the incident, stressing that while the bus and another occupant escaped, the victim felled on the track and was crushed.
He stated that two level barrier officers attached to the facility were on their duty posts, adding that all the warning signs at the crossing were working.
“It is a matter of people doing what is wrong at the wrong time. How could traffic officials watch, while bus drivers continue to flout the rules? Somebody was turning on the rail track while the train was approaching and people jumped out when they heard the whistle and one was crushed. You did not blame the people who have converted the tracks to market and those destroying them, you are blaming the corporation. I want to say that we observe all safety standards in our operation,” he stated.
Noting that the accident happened on the rail track, he said the corporation would have been held liable if the train had skidded off the tracks and called on Nigerians to be wary of activities they carry out along rain lines.