Due to the incident that occurred on Monday around the Nigerian Army Shopping Arena, Oshodi, Lagos State, a train has crushed a shoe merchant, Christopher Ngobidi, to death, while his son, Arinze, is fighting for his life in a hospital.
It was learnt that the train had earlier collided with a white Ford Ecoline 250 bus with number plate, GGE 972 GE, at the PWD area. The train, while pulling the Ford vehicle, got to the Army Shopping Arena, where Ngobidi parked his Toyota Highlander on the rail tracks.
The Anambra State indigene, a trader at the Arena, was waiting for the gate of the shopping mall to open when he saw the approaching train, Ngobidi raced to the vehicle to rescue his son, who was sleeping in the vehicle, but was crushed to death by the train.
It was learnt that the shop of the deceased and stalls around the deceased’s shop were locked.
An eyewitness, Hezekiah Adekanmi, said, “The man parked on the rail track while he was waiting for the Arena gate to be opened. While the train was coming with a bus that it had earlier hit, it started honking. But the man, who was not in the car, remembered that his son was inside the vehicle and he ran to rescue him.
“Before he could come out of the vehicle, they were hit by the train and pushed inside a gutter. The man died immediately, while his son was injured. The train still dragged the bus to the Oshodi under bridge before it stopped.”
Efechukwu Udeh, a shop owner around Ngobidi’s shop, who described the deceased as a nice man, lamented that he would be sorely missed.
Udeh said, “Christopher (Ngobidi) was my neighbour in this market and he was nice to everybody.
“The man attempted to rescue his son who was sleeping inside the vehicle when the train crushed him, while his son was injured. The boy is unconscious at the hospital. Christopher’s wife called me this morning to ask after the husband, but I had to lie to her that he had not got to the market yet because I don’t know what to tell her.”
However, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who visited the scene, sympathised with the families of the victims.
Sanwo-Olu said, “This incident is regrettable because it happened on the day all stakeholders reached a consensus to close down the gates into the shopping arena. And this is part of the concerns we have been raising about commuters’ safety on this axis. We need to act fast. This fatal accident should strengthen our resolve to do the needful and prevent a repeat of the sad incident in the future.
“It is also a clarion call on our people to be safety conscious whenever they need to drive across rail tracks. If there is slow movement of vehicles at any railway bypass, then there is the need to keep a safe distance from the rail tracks.”