My sister once signed petition to restrict movement of trailers in Lagos – Brother of lady crushed by fallen container

Mr Obinna Ajoku, brother of Ms Chidinma Ajoku, has narrated how the late 27-year-old daughter of Mrs Chineze Ajoku signed a petition in 2018 to restrict the movement of container-laden trucks in Lagos State to the hours of 11pm and 5am.


Obinna in an interview with our correspondent on Sunday explained that her late sister had a phobia for truck-carrying trailers and cringed each time any of them moved by a vehicle she was on.

The PUNCH had earlier reported that Chidinma and her colleague, Chima Nnaekpe, 29, m, who both worked in the Commercial Department, Hajj & Cargo Terminal at the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria died last Sunday, July 26, 2020, when a truck with number plate SGM 715 XA loaded with a 20ft container fell on a commercial bus they were on.

It was gathered that Chidi and Chima were returning from work and their danfo had stopped briefly to discharge some passengers when tragedy struck.

The remains of the two were moved to a morgue at a general hospital in the Yaba area of the state.

Subsequently, Mrs Ajoku, in a very touching video that went viral, decried the activities of container-laden trucks in the state while calling on Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to check their operations and put in place necessary regulations to secure the lives of road users.

 “I will like to tell the public that this is getting too much. These containers keep on killing people and nobody talks. My daughter was 27-year-old working with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria. She went to Babcock University and was planning to go abroad to do her masters. And this is just how life has been snuffed out of her.

“If my daughter’s life is going to be used to stop this menace, then, let it be what I have achieved. I know that maybe they will say I am a nobody until somebody’s child is snuffed out before they do something. But I think everybody in this Lagos whether you own a car or enter public transport, all of us, our lives are in danger because we encounter all these trailers and containers every day and they are very reckless. Please, let something be done,” Mrs Ajoku, who lost her husband in 2019, passionately appealed.

Speaking with our correspondent over the phone on Sunday, the deceased’s brother said the family may sue the Babajide Sanwo-Olu government for negligence. “We are trying to build up a case right now. My mum is contacting some people in this regard,” he revealed.

Asked whether the state government had visited the family, Obinna said, “No, they haven’t. The Attorney General of Lagos State contacted us last week and said he was coming this week. His wife came yesterday but the government hasn’t contacted us. The trailer driver is yet to be apprehended and no one has seen the owner of the trailer.”

Obinna said the late Chidinma had high ambitions and plans. “She was trying to do her MBA in a university in England. She already gained admission but deferred it to January 2021 or September 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic and this now happened. I’m so speechless,” he informed.

He explained that the deceased had a phobia for trailers and had signed a petition in 2018 to limit their movement to nighttime.

The petition titled, “Restrict movement of trucks in built-up areas within Nigeria to the hours of 11pm and 5am” was started by one Olorunfemi Gbenle and was directed to the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations, the UN Environment Programme, and UN eighth Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.

When visited on Sunday evening, the petition portal domiciled on www.change.org had attracted 162,753 signatories.

Obinna said, “Our dad died last year of kidney problem and we haven’t even finished getting over that one and this one now happened. She was not sick; she was healthy. After my dad’s death, we all tried to be health-conscious. I checked her bag and her things the police brought after the accident. Inside her bag was an apple. We all tried to be health-conscious. My sister was not sick.

“She was always afraid of trailers. Anytime we were in the car passing beside a trailer, she was always holding my hands. It was always annoying but now I can see why.

“I came across something on Twitter after her death; the chat she had with a friend in 2018. She sent the friend a link to sign a petition against trucks moving during the day in Lagos. She was so passionate about the campaign to end their movement during daytime. It’s so saddening and terrible. We plan to bury her this Saturday at Ikoyi Cemetery.”

When contacted, Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, said, “The vehicle is with us. The driver didn’t escape with the trailer. We don’t know who the driver is but we are working on finding out the company that owns the trailer. Investigation is ongoing but there are details I can’t give now.”

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