The Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) says plans are underway to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) and the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to enhance safety in the rail and road sector.
This is just as the Bureau assured investigators had begun investigating the causal and contributory factors of Lagos’s March 9, 2023, train and bus accident.
During courtesy visits to the two organisations in Lagos, the Director General, NSIB, Mr Akin Olateru, said its report, which would be made public soon, would include safety recommendations to both parties on a recurrence that could be avoided.
At LASEMA, he explained that NSIB has 45 well-trained investigators deep in investigating severe incidents and accidents of rail and maritime of rail and marine.
“We have 45 well-trained investigators who are well-trained in the United States, Singapore Academy and others. So, we do what we do well. But, it takes time to carry out an investigation.
“All the accidents and serious incidents that we have investigated in the past, we made them public. There is no hiding anything, but we don’t blah, by anyone. We have the causal and contributory factors that would tell you why the accident happened.”
NSIB Signs MOU to enhance safety in the rail and road sector.
The Director-General of NSIB also sought a partnership between NSIB and LASEMA on capacity building, training and exchanging ideas.
In a slide presentation on the train-bus accident, the Permanent Secretary of LASEPA, Dr Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, said its officials were at the scene of the accident within 10 minutes while rescue operations commenced immediately.
He sought partnership with NSIB in the areas of training and acquisition of equipment to further increase safety in the sector.
“We wish to partner with your organisation. So, let’s partner effectively and efficiently. You can use your money to build us up. You won’t regret it. I pioneered LASEMA in 2005 due to the bomb blast of January 27, 2002, which occurred in Lagos.
At the NRC, Mr Olateru also reiterated that the report on the accident would be issued to the public soon.
In his response, the Managing Director of NRC, Mr Fidet Okhiria, expressed delight to work with NSIB, adding that the coming onboard of the Bureau would improve the safety of lives and equipment while recurrence would also be prevented.
While lamenting the accident, Mr Okhiria emphasised that the loss of lives would have been more catastrophic than for the professional handling of the train driver.
According to him, no fewer than 1,000 passengers were onboard the train on the day of the incident, stressing that if the train driver had applied the break immediately, the train would have derailed while more lives would have been lost.
“The coming on board of NSIB into the investigation of accidents in the rail sector will make the job of railway easier. So it is a welcome development. We are willing to work with them. This is the direction of the government, and we have to abide by it. So we will work with them.
“How does it threaten us? The agency is not a threat to us in any way; rather, we intend to work with them to make the rail sector safer and better for everyone. This is the law of the land, and everyone must obey it,” he assured.
However, NSIB, LASEMA and NRC have agreed to set up a committee to work on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to further boost the relationship among the organisations.
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