The trial of the owner and driver of the truck carrying an unlatched container that fell and crushed two workers of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), has commenced at the Lagos State High Court.
Chidinma Ajoku and Chima Nnaekpe, both employees of FAAN, boarded a commercial bus from work on July 26, 2020.
Tragically, the unfastened container on the truck fell on the commercial bus they boarded at Ilasamaja area of the state and crushed them to death at the scene of the accident.
The bus driver later died of his injuries in hospital.
At the first sitting on Thursday, the Attorney General of the state, Moyosore Onigbanjo, a senior advocate, amended the charges against the two defendants to seven counts, as against the earlier three filed against them.
In the amended charge, the truck owner and the driver are facing six counts of involuntary manslaughter, and one count of liability for the safety of vehicle, which caused the deaths of the victims; Ajoku, Nnaekpe, and the driver, Daniel Okwuoge.
Onigbanjo called the first prosecution witness, a Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS) officer, Hamed Baruwa, who told the court that investigations conducted by his team showed that the truck, which caused the accident has no road worthiness.
“Following directives from my boss, Akin George Fashola, I proceeded on August 6, to Ilasamaja Police station, where I met DSP Oluwasola Omololu and he took me to the place they parked the vehicle at Balex Bus stop.
“When I got there with my team, I saw the Volkswagen commercial bus that had been compressed because of the container that fell on it.
“I asked for the truck and the DSP took me to the place where it is parked. It was a 20 feet container. I noticed that the truck is not road worthy, the front and back fender were not there, the rear lights and backlights were not there, and the shaft of the vehicle had pulled out” Baruwa stated.
The witness also said he went back to the scene of the accident to examine if there are potholes on the road, but realised there was none inward Mile 2.
Baruwa noted that he took photographs of the road and concluded his investigation.
The witness further told the court that upon return to his office, he logged the registration number of the truck, “SGM 715 XA”, into detective machine database, and discovered that the vehicle license had expired since 2018.
The two defendants are also being accused of liability for the safety of vehicles, by failing to obtain valid vehicle license, hackney permit and insurance certificate of their vehicle, in conformity with the conditions and standard of commercial vehicles in Lagos State.
The suspects, however, pleaded “not guilty” to all the seven counts.
Justice Mobolanle Okikiolu-Ighile, the presiding judge, adjourned the case till August 26, 2020, for the continuation of trial.