Tragedy Strikes as Rivers Along Ogun State Highways Claim Over 50 Lives
In a harrowing series of events, rivers running alongside major roads in Ogun State have become silent witnesses to a heart-wrenching toll – claiming the lives of more than 50 travelers over the past four years. Shockingly, a staggering 95% of these accidents have unfolded along the bustling Lagos-Benin highway, a vital lifeline connecting Lagos to the South-South, South-East, and other parts of Nigeria.
The Lagos-Benin highway, with Ogun State as its longest corridor, bears witness to a ceaseless stream of vehicles, both inbound and outbound from Lagos. Tragically, most of these victims have met their fate when their vehicles careened into the unforgiving waters, leaving only a handful fortunate enough to escape the clutches of these treacherous rivers.
One particularly heart-rending incident involved the untimely demise of Professor Lai Oso, a revered figure in Mass Communication at Lagos State University (LASU). His vehicle met its watery end on the Ijebu axis of Ogun State when the driver succumbed to fatigue, veering off the Sagamu-Ore highway into the depths of the river. Oso and the driver, both securely fastened by their seat belts, perished, while those in the back seats miraculously survived.
While the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) places blame on reckless driving, overspeeding, and mechanical deficiencies, experts point to the inadequate safety measures on certain bridges as exacerbating factors. Damaged guard rails and a lack of protective barriers have amplified the risks for travelers.
In light of these dire circumstances, some suggest that appeasing the river gods and spirits with sacrifices might be a way to avert further calamities. Traditionalists like Sule Anigboro advocate for the intervention of elders and traditional rulers to explore this avenue.
Nevertheless, the primary onus for preventing such tragedies rests upon drivers who must adopt a vigilant and safety-conscious approach. Strict adherence to traffic regulations, sensible speeds, and defensive driving practices can potentially stem the tide of sorrow along these perilous roads.
As Ogun State grapples with the loss of more than 50 lives in these heartrending incidents, there is an urgent call for enhanced road safety infrastructure and a collective commitment to safer driving practices. The rivers’ mournful stories serve as a poignant reminder of the critical importance of safeguarding lives on the nation’s highways.