James Emejo in Abuja
The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a motion seeking to investigate the November 16 train derailment at Fagba area of Ifako Ijaye Federal Constituency of Lagos State.
The incident reportedly claimed seven lives and caused multiple crashes among trucks and other vehicles.
The House, further mandated its Committees on Police Affairs, Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values and Land Transport to interface with the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) on how to provide railway level crossing barriers, highway codes and alarm system arrangements at all railway level crossings across the federation to curb incessant deaths at railway crossings.
The resolution of the green chamber followed a motion jointly sponsored by Hon. Akinwunmi Nurudeen Olaitan and Hon. Jimoh Abdulraheem Olajide both from APC, Lagos on need to curb incessant deaths at railway crossings.
In his lead debate, Nurudeen said â€œwhen a train derails leading to an accident, a dangerous situation usually occurs owing to the size, weight and speed of the railroad cars which makes it difficult to take any action to mitigate the damage as the safety features in vehicles cannot stand up to the force of a moving train.â€
According to him:â€Most accidents involving trains and vehicles are caused by failure of vehicle drivers to abide by highway codes and absence of railway level crossing barriers given that most crossing locations are among the most eventful points on the transportation network
â€œAs a result of the different braking systems of a train, the right of way is granted to the train because its braking distance (depending on its weight and speed) is several hundred times longer than that of a vehicle.â€
He said:â€Usually, some kind of alarm system arrangements are made to keep the road traffic flowing during the safe periods and suitable bell system is provided for vehicles and pedestrians in order to prevent possible accidents.â€
He stressed the need for the provision of modern railway level crossing barriers, bells, railway/road signs, signals and lights and realising the need for collaboration with highway authorities to carry out the necessary works to increase the visibility of the level crossings in order to reduce accidents at those crossings.
In supporting the motion, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila (APC, Lagos) said several similar incidents had gone unreported and urge the House to take action to forestall a recurrence.
He said:â€If we do nothing about it, thereâ€™ll be many more. Itâ€™s tantamount to negligence.â€
He said the rail budget in the 2018 budget should go for security and safety of passengers and pedestrians.
His call for an amendment of the motion to order a probe of the Lagos incident was voted and passed.
â€œWe canâ€™t go forward without looking back,â€ he said.
Also, Olajide, who is the co-sponsor of the motion said government must provide critical infrastructure including including power to forestall simialr rail incident going forward.