Many Nigerians, including safety experts, victims of road accidents and other categories of road users have expressed fears over the rising spate of road accidents involving Dangote trucks in most parts of the country.
With Dangote trucks accident fatality figures put at 200 annually as at 2012, the figure has since increased even though the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and other authorities have insisted that lack of proper training of personnel and maintenance of these vehicles are the main causes of these accidents.
Many victims who are lucky to survive these accidents tend to walk away from the intricacies of road accident investigation, leaving the case for God, while others have gone ahead to court to seek for redress. As at the moment, Dangote Group has a series of court cases due to damage of vehicles and other properties, injuries or deaths arising from accidents involving its numerous trucks.
Victims recount ordeal
Dangote truck accident victims have a lot of stories to tell. One of the bereaved, Oliver Aleogena, who Dangote truck crushed and killed his brother on the December 22, 2018 at J4 area of Shagamu, Ogun State, told THEWILL that his family has already instituted a case against Dangote Group in court and that they are patiently waiting for justice.
Mr Aleogena however, insisted that he cannot speak much on the matter, as the case is already in court.
He said “It happened on the 23rd of December, 2018 and we have instituted the case in court”.
Similarly a driver, Mr Lawal Wasiu Ayinla who is still nursing injuries sustained from an accident involving him and Dangote truck is also threatening to go to court if Dangote fails to address his situation.
According to him, his boss has already made a complaint to Dangote Group to see if the company can address the matter amicably.
Narrating his ugly experience with a Dangote driver on the January 23, 2021, Ayinla who lives at Onibukun area of Ota, Ogun State told THEWILL that he escaped death by the whiskers from a Dangote truck driver.
According to 40-year-old Ayinla, he was descending the Iju Ota River, when a Dangote truck ran speedily and hit him right on top of the bridge, damaging his booth, bumper and other parts of his boss’s green painted Toyota Camry car.
He said: “I was on my lane on the narrow Iju Ota bridge when a Dangote truck with registration number, KANO KNC 183XA suddenly hit me from the rear damaging the rear part of the car. With the heavy impact, I hit my head and was feeling dizzy. I managed to get down from the car with the help of my boss. On getting down, I thought the reckless driver would stop to address the problem. Instead, he zoomed off and diverted onto another road connecting Love Bus-Stop along the Idiroko road.
Explaining further, Ayinla added, “I was very surprised that the truck marked KZE 01 could hit me carelessly and run away just like that, without showing any sign of remorse.
“The hit and run incident by the Dangote driver happened at 5:14 pm on top of Iju River bridge (after Canaanland), Iju, along Idiroko road, Ota, Ogun State. I was slightly injured and my car damaged. All efforts made to stop the driver proved abortive as he was not ready to stop. Instead he diverted into another road to evade arrest. Through the help of some ‘okada’ riders, we pursued the truck and were able to get his details”, Ayinla who is still nursing his wound stated.
Ten days after that ugly incident with Ayinla, another Dangote truck, at the same spot, ran into the Iju River after tumbling several times and causing multiple vehicular accidents.
The accident which occurred in the early morning of Monday, February 1, 2021 inflicted severe injuries on over 20 people, and also caused a lot of damage to about 10 vehicles.
Speaking to THEWILL, an eye witness, Chief Okanlawon Tunde who lives at Iju Ota, said the accident was very unfortunate as over 20 people were injured.
Informing that there was no fatality, Chief Okanlawon blamed the Dangote truck driver, stressing that they are fond of approaching the Iju bridge at full speed.
“This is how it happens every time on this bridge. The Dangote truck drivers don’t even help the matter. Most times, they are fond of approaching the bridge with full speed. If it is not brake failure today, it will be tyre problem tomorrow”.
He called on the management of Dangote Group to ensure that their vehicles are in good condition at all times, just as he urged the company to make sure they employ stable and professional drivers.
However, it took Dangote company three working days to remove the fallen truck from the road. The truck was eventually removed on Wednesday February 3, 2021, after other motorists and road users on that axis had suffered serious traffic gridlock for some days.
But the Executive Director, Technical, Safety Beyond Borders (SBB), a road safety management outfit, Mr. Patrick Adenusi, has a different perspective to the series of accidents involving Dangote trucks.
Mr Adenusi pointed out that it is difficult to determine the cause of any accident, if one was not at the scene of the accident.
Adenusi said that he was aware that Dangote trailers and other heavy duty vehicles always find it difficult to manoeuvre and stabilize whenever there is road mishap, hence their involvement in multiple accidents.
The road safety expert said: “It is not very right to make general statements when it comes to road accidents, except you get to the scene of the accident. Sometimes, the Dangote drivers are at fault while sometimes other road users are at fault”.
According to him, 10 out of 10 accidents are not investigated in Nigeria, a case that makes people see a crash without knowing the cause of the accident.
On how to stem down the spate of accidents on the roads, Adenusi declared that there are lots of unskilled drivers who do not have the right driving ethics. He, therefore, advised that fleet managers should focus more on training and retraining of their commercial and private drivers periodically. Adenusi equally urged the authorities to endeavor to investigate any accident so as to unravel the remote cause or causes.
Dangote trucks have continued to be a nightmare for transporters and commuters on the highway in Ogun State. They have reportedly killed and sent so many innocent lives to great beyond through their carelessness and dangerous driving on both federal and state roads.
Contrary to Adenusi’s position, Dangote Group has always been blamed by passers-by, victims and even the authorities whenever an accident involves them. Their complaints range from brake failure, poor driving culture and the inability for Dangote drivers to take responsibility or wait in the course of an accident.
In the last two years, no fewer than 200 innocent Nigerians have been brutally killed through accidents involving Dangote truck drivers, according to reports. Across the nation, the report is the same; it has always been allegations of deaths and injuries involving Dangote’s trucks.
For instance, in Kogi State, two persons were burnt to death in an accident involving Dangote trailer on the January 14, 2020. The motor accident occurred at about 4 pm at Felele in Lokoja.
It was reliably gathered that the Dangote truck was coming from Obajana fully loaded with bags of cement when the incident occurred.
The source further added that on getting to Felele along Lokoja-Abuja road, as the vehicle was descending, the brake failed as it crashed to the heavy barricade at the centre of the road and then somersaulted. The accident led to the burning of the vehicle and the two occupants – the driver and the truck boy – were burnt beyond recognition
On February 15, 2020, a Dangote truck was set ablaze after causing multiple accidents in Ota area of Ogun State. Many people lost their lives while 10 were injured during the multiple accidents involving three vehicles on Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, adjacent the old Tollgate, Ota.
The incident which occurred at about 11.35 pm involved a cement-laden truck belonging to Dangote Group of Companies, white colour Space Wagon with number plate APP122CD and Volkswagen yellow coloured passengers’ bus with number plate LSR128XP.
Six months after, another Dangote truck was again set ablaze on July 18, 2020 for killing one motorcyclist and injuring three others. The incident happened around 8 am on the Old Ibadan Roundabout Road, Ago-Iwoye, in the Ijebu-North Local Government Area of Ogun State.
The accident involved the truck and a motorcycle, said the Public Relations Officer of the Ogun State Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps, Babatunde Akinbiyi.
Akinbiyi said the truck driver lost control of the vehicle and ran over the moving motorcycle, killing the rider and injuring three others.
Akinbiyi in a statement explained that the Dangote truck driver was coming from Ago-Iwoye inbound Ijebu-Ode when the incident happened.
He said, “The driver, due to over-speeding, could not control the vehicle as it approached Ibadan roundabout and rammed over a Bajaj motorcycle rider who was trying to negotiate the roundabout at that time.
“The driver of the Dangote truck was later apprehended after making attempts to run away and was beaten to stupor by the angry mob that also set the truck on fire”.
Similarly on April 3, 2020, a Dangote Cement truck overturned on the Epe Bridge in Lagos, landing on a taxi and killing six of its seven passengers. It was confirmed that the cause of the incident was a brake failure related to a mechanical fault with the truck.
On August 8, 2020, a motorist and a woman were crushed to death in another accident in Ogun. The motorist was reportedly killed by a truck belonging to Dangote Cement Company, on the Mosinmi-Sagamu Road, Sagamu in the state.
The spokesperson for the Federal Road Safety Corps in the state, Florence Okpe, confirmed the incident. Okpe in a statement said the crash occurred at about 9.30am, adding that four persons comprising three men and one woman were involved in the accident. Again, a male adult was on November 10, 2020 crushed to death in Onitsha, Anambra State, by a truck belonging to the Dangote Group. The accident occurred around 9.55 am, near Zenith Bank, along Onitsha-Owerri road. The truck had no registration number.
According to eyewitnesses, the truck driver slipped off his lane due to excessive speeding, and crushed a pedestrian ‘who is well known in the community, hence the angry youths revenged by setting the truck ablaze when the driver was nowhere to be found’. Up north, reports have it that scores of passengers were killed in multiple accidents which happened on March 9, 2019, along the Kaduna-Abuja expressway.
It was gathered that a fatal accident caused by a Dangote truck near the toll gate in Kaduna at the end of Abuja highway led to the crushing of many vehicles by the Dangote truck.
In Kano, a Dangote truck rammed into a bike conveying a family of five on March 8, 2020, killing four on the spot.
The fatal accident occurred at Gaida Road, linking Sharada Industrial Area with Chalawa Industrial Layout.
The man, 40-year-old Muhammad Sagir, was said to be travelling on the motorbike with his wife and three children when the truck crushed them; only one of the children survived.
In 2021 alone, and within the month of January, over 20 persons have been killed in road accidents involving Dangote trucks that would have been avoided in one way or the other.
On January 2, barely two days after two trucks belonging to Dangote Cement Company were set ablaze by an angry mob for crushing two persons to death; a Dangote truck caused yet another multiple accidents in Ogun State.
The accident which occurred at about 6.30 pm along the Abeokuta-Lagos Expressway, within the old Tollgate at Otta, on New Year Day, according to FRSC, was as a result of brake failure on the part of the Dangote truck.
In the accident, 2 persons were killed while nine others sustained various injuries.
A statement by the Ogun State Sector Commander, Clement Oladele, said a total of 10 persons were involved, comprising eight male adults and two female adults. It was gathered that six persons – four male adults and two female adults, sustained injuries in the accident involving six vehicles.
On January 4, 2021, another Dangote truck driving against traffic killed one person in Anambra State. The driver of the Dangote truck with registration number KMC 41 XR killed the victim along Owerri road by Mgbuka Market First Gate, Obosi – Onitsha.
According to reports, the victim was crossing the road when suddenly the truck appeared from the wrong direction and hit him.
On January 24, 2021, another nine people died in an accident involving a Dangote truck at the gate of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba (AAUA) in the early hours of the morning.
The accident was said to have been caused by brake failure resulting in loss of control of a Dangote truck which ran into a Suzuki mini bus (XB973KAA) and a Lexus saloon car (KWL 522 AY) conveying a total of 18 passengers.
While this report centres more on recent incidents, findings by this newspaper showed that road accidents involving Dangote trucks remain a source of worry over the years as many lives have been lost and people rendered permanently disabled from such road mishaps.
Examples: In November 2015, Pastor Joan Godwin, the founder of Great Word Ministries in Asaba, Delta State, died in an accident traced to a Dangote truck in which nine others lost their lives.
A speeding Dangote truck from Benin laden with cement ran over a bus with 18 passengers in front of the NNPC Mega Filling Station, close to Asaba Airport.
A sector commander of the FRSC, Delta State, Mr Rindom Kumyen, said the three vehicles involved in the accident caught fire immediately, making rescue efforts difficult. The Dangote truck, according to eye-witness, escaped into the bush.
On June 6, 2014, former Cross River State governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, had to pull over his convoy to behold the tragic scene, in which six persons were crushed to death by a Dangote truck at Orira village, Biase local government area along the Calabar-Ikom highway.
According to reports, the truck with registration number, Enugu KEM 560 XC, laden with cement from the Unicem factory at Mfamosing was speeding towards Ikom when the driver lost control and ran over a Volkswagen car, swept off the road and crashed through a road-side shop trapping the owner under the truck’s tires
The truck with registration number, Enugu KEM 560 XC laden with cement from the Unicem factory at Mfamosing was speeding towards Ikom when the driver lost control and ran over a Volkswagen car on its way to Calabar and was swept off the road and crashed through a coffin shop taking the coffin maker who was in the shop at the time under its tire.
The driver of the Volkswagen car and four passengers including the shop owner were killed on the spot, while the truck driver escaped.
In the same month, a Dangote Cement truck crashed into five vehicles and a motorcycle at the Odukpani Junction, along Calabar-Ogoja expressway leaving 24 persons injured. The truck with identification Number ICT-11F-050 had no number plate.
Passengers on a Kano-Port Harcourt train, March 14, 2016, narrowly escaped death as a Dangote truck loaded with bags of cement passed an illegal crossing point, causing the rail line to shift from its normal position as the train approached.
The incident occurred in Mungedi, a highly populated suburb in the Madobi local government area of Kano state at 4.16 pm – sixteen minutes after departing from the Kano terminal.
According to reports, villagers who witnessed the incident made a concerted effort to flag down the train as it approached the section of the rail line that had been damaged by the truck.
The engineer, identified as Garba Garba, managed to bring the speeding train to a halt when he noticed the warning signs by the villages, thus avoiding a derailment. He reportedly confessed that, “it would have been very dangerous for the passengers, the crew, the coaches and the surrounding houses if the train had derailed because of the shift”.
A team of policemen were promptly mobilized by the railway authorities to the site of the accident to look for the Dangote truck driver, who had fled the scene to evade possible arrest.
On December 28, 2016, a truck belonging to Dangote Group crushed a Second Republic Senator, Mukhtar Abdulkarim to death.
Abdulkarim, according to reports, along with his brother and driver, was travelling between Kano and Zamfara states when the truck rammed into his car, killing him instantly.
The Dangote Colossus
Group Head, Corporate Communications, Dangote Group, Mr Anthony Chiejina, would not comment on the matter. However, a reliable source in the Company told THEWILL on point of anonymity that Dangote Group is concerned about the incessant road accidents involving its trucks and that appropriate actions were being taken to redress the anomaly.
Mr Aliko Dangote, founder and Chairman, Dangote Group, is Africa’s richest man with a net worth of $17.5 billion as at 2020, according to information obtained from Bloomberg’s billionaire tracker. Dangote Group, the largest conglomerate in West Africa and one of the largest on the African continent, employs more than 30,000 people.
The flagship company, Dangote Cement Plc (DCP), is the highest capitalized in the Nigerian Stock Exchange with over N4 trillion from where majority of Dangote’s fortune is derived with his 86 per cent stake in the No. 1 publicly-traded company by capitalization in Nigeria’s bourse.
Analysts express concern over the high rate of road accidents involving Dangote Group heavy duty vehicles as a company of that status should be reputed with the highest safety attitude of its motor vehicle operators •