Many people were injured, some left with multiple fractures, as a truck loaded with about 1000 blocks, with a faulty brake system, went rolling down Maiduguri’s Custom flyover bridge in the evening of Saturday, November 19.
The truck which was coming from the Bama road axis had to go through the middle deck of the multi-decked overbridges that leads to the West End. After dragging itself up the tall bridge, the truck’s brake failed as it began to descend, uncontrolled, towards the end of the bridge. Unfortunately, at the tail end of the bridge, there was a traffic jam caused by traders coming out of the Gamboru market – a noticed major flaw in the design of the bridge. The bridge’s approach slab started at the main entrance of the crowded market.
The truck’s driver made all efforts to apply the brake in order to stop the heavily loaded vehicle from its free slide, but all to no avail. So the mass tone of steel on the wheel simply began to crush vehicles and grind some as it rolled down non-stop.
Many vehicles, especially Keke Napep (commercial tricycles), were the most affected as the truck tore through them. A man in a commercial tricycle was heard yelling for help as he was pinned to the wall of the bridge’s approach slab. It took the help of passers-by to evacuate their crushed Keke Napep to drag him out. A woman was seen sitting on the side of the road with bruises on her body.
At the end of the confusion, more than 15 vehicles were badly damaged, even as the truck could not be stopped as it continues to roll towards the next traffic light with other commuters driving away in a bid to escape another possible mishap. The truck was later stopped.
This author was an eyewitness who also escaped the killer truck with a breath of luck.
The Humanitarian Times has called on the government to consider banning all heavy and reticulated vehicles from plying the overbridge.
The exit end of the bridge, coming from Bama road landed right at the entrance way of the Gamboru market. In most cases local security operatives have to station there to control oncoming vehicle that are descending the bridge or pedestrians coming out of the market to cross over on food to the opposite end of the road.
This ignored problem has left Customs Area still with its traffic hold up signature which the fly over was originally meant to address.
Experts said the overbridge ought to have been extended a bit beyond the road to the Gamboru market to eliminate situations of traffic holdups, especially during the evening rush hour. Others suggested that now that the damage is done, the route to the market that directly links the highway should be closed.