Ojuelegba container tragedy: Driver to face manslaughter charge

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Wasiu Adeleke, the driver of the container-laden truck which fell off the Ojuelegba Flyover in Lagos and killed three people on Sept. 2, 2015, is to be tried for manslaughter, a court ruled on Wednesday.

This followed an advice from the State Director Public Prosecutions (DPP) to an Ebute Meta Chief Magistrates’ Court, Lagos, recommending the driver for manslaughter charge.

The Magistrate, Miss Abimbola Awogboro, who announced the receipt of the DPP’s advice at the resumed hearing of the case on Wednesday, directed that the charge should be filed at a high court.

The advice read in part: “Although the suspect did not intend the death of the deceased, but they died as a result of the negligent act of the accused.

“Not having regard to the nature and condition of the truck before taking it to the highway as he must have discovered the fault before the accident.

“Furthermore, the truck was laden with goods weighing 228.13kg more than the recommended 22 tonnage capacity causing heavy strain on the chasis of the truck and thus leading to the accident.

“In view of the foregoing, Adeleke is to be prosecuted for the offence of manslaughter contrary to Section 227 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that, Adeleke, 31, was arraigned on a five-count charge bordering on gross negligence and reckless disregard for human life, reckless and dangerous driving as well as driving on highway without a valid driver’s licence.

The driver is also being tried for driving without valid MOT certificate, road worthiness certificate and vehicle licence.

According to the prosecutor, Insp. Chinalu Uwadiowe, the offences were committed on Sept. 2, 2015 on Ojuelegba Bridge.

He said Adeleke drove a truck with registration no. EPE 46 XK carrying a 20- feet container loaded with iron doors and white cement in a negligent manner.

“The container fell, causing the deaths of Abubakar Sule, 52; Umaru Sulaiman, 46; and Kamilu Umaru, 28.

“The truck also damaged a Toyota Corolla marked LSD 532 CN valued at N2 million, belonging to Sumaila Marksman and a Nissan Sunny with registration no. SHE 750 LND, valued at N600,000, belonging to Mr Joseph Ajayi.’’

The offences, according to Uwadione, contravene Sections 222(2) and 249(1), (a) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.

The accused also violated Sections 10, 11, 12, 19, and 20 of the Lagos State Road Traffic Laws of 2012.

The accused had at his arraignment pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

The Chief Magistrate, Mrs Afolasade Botoku, who tried him, had ordered the remand of Adeleke in prison pending a ruling on his bail application. (NAN)

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