SIYANBOLA Muritala, a survivor of a Lagos State Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) that crashed into a moving train, said he fell asleep shortly after boarding the bus but remembered learning that his colleague died in the hospital.
Muritala said he boarded the BRT for work on 9 March 2023, at Cele-Igbe, per his routine, and fell asleep following a prayer made on the bus at Oshodi, but remembered waking up to find himself on the ground inside the bus.
Muritala, on Wednesday, recounted his experience of the BRT-train crash after the state called him to testify as the fourth prosecution witness in the case of manslaughter against the BRT driver, Oluwaseun Osibanjo, that is being heard at an Ikeja High Court.
The witness told the court that he had boarded the BRT 33, a Lagos State government staff bus, driven by the defendant, Osibanjo, for the past five years.
The counsel to the prosecution, T. E. Onilado, led the witness in evidence.
Muritala told the court that he had never been involved in an accident on the BRT 33 before the crash on 9 March 2023.
He said he does not remember much from the day of the incident as he was sleeping for the most part, save that he hit his head on the bus and woke up to find out that there had been an accident.
“After the incident, I saw myself sitting on the floor. I saw some of my colleagues and they wanted me to go to the office, but I refused and said I wanted to wait for the ambulance,” the witness said.
Muritala said, “I wanted to wait for the ambulance because I was dizzy.”
The witness told the court that after he woke up from the impact of the train crashing into the bus, he remembered seeing his colleague, Aina Oreoluwa, whom he usually boarded the bus with.
He said that afterwards, an ambulance took him and the passengers to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) where a doctor examined him and told him he needed an X-ray scan.
The witness told the court that aside from hitting his head in the BRT, he had sustained other injuries, including getting a twisted ankle.
The prosecution counsel, Onilado, asked Muritala about his colleague, Oreoluwa, and he answered “Aina Oreoluwa is late. She died on the day of the incident at the hospital.”
The counsel to the defendant, Lekan Egberongbe, asked the witness if he went over to the Nigerian Railway Police Station or any other police station to make a statement after the accident.
The witness answered in the negative.
However, Muritala told the court that a police officer approached him and asked him some questions but he had to tell the officer that he could not answer as he was not in a good condition.
The witness said that he remembered answering some of the officer’s questions later at the LASUTH; including a question on whether the driver was speeding on the road.
Muritala said that he told the officer, “No. He (Osibanjo) was not speeding before I slept off.”
Further, Egberongbe handed the witness a document which contained a written police statement signed under his name and asked him whether he could identify the document.
The witness looked at the document and said, “No, I cannot identify the document.”
He also told the court that he did not observe any particular issue with the BRT bus when he boarded it on the morning of 9 March 2023, before falling asleep.
Justice Oyindamola Ogala adjourned the matter to 4 December 2023, for the continuation of the trial.
Earlier, the judge ordered Osibanjo to be remanded at the Kirikiri Custodial Facility after he was arraigned for driving onto a railway track at the PWD Junction and killing about six passengers.
The defendant pleaded not guilty to the 16-count charge of involuntary manslaughter brought against him by the Lagos State government.
His alleged offences border on running into a moving train, causing grievous harm and involuntary manslaughter.
The alleged offences contravene the provision of sections 244 and 245 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.