Who is Chidinma Ajoku by the way?
Why is there so much noise about her? Will she be the first Nigerian to die from being crushed under a container?
Likely, she won’t be the last. She is just a statistic. So, why should we bother about her? I mean, will her dreams of pursuing a Master’s degree abroad be the only one crushed under the weight of steel and iron like a sledgehammer crushing a watermelon?
Biko shift, why should we be moved by her mother’s tearful video? We are not moved one bit! Would she be the only mother whose child has been snatched suddenly, unnecessarily and so violently away from her bosom?
Go and ask the families of six who died on the Awka–Onitsha expressway when a container fell on their vehicle. This happened just last month. What of the families of those who died at Ojuelegba when an unlatched 40-feet container fell from the top of the bridge; sinking vehicles and persons in the vehicles more than the required six feet below.
Oh, while you are at it, what about the families of several people killed at the Agric area of Ikorodu; when a container fell on them on the BRT lane in September 2019? Did anyone do a video in December of 2018 when another container fell on two cars along Mobolaji Bank Anthony; killing one passenger?
Come sef, did we even know the names of the many passengers crushed like meat in a pack?
So, Chidinma Ajoku isn’t the only one who has died from a container falling on the vehicle she was in. The others may be nameless, their families may never be known by Nigerians and their pain never open for us to see.
But, hey, so why the noise over Chidinma Ajoku?
Oh, but there are so many reasons why we shouldn’t let Chidinma die in vain! She has become, like George Floyd… well may be not on that magnitude; but she represents the growing number of innocent nameless Nigerians dying tragic deaths they had no business dying. Many of these people who were heading home after a hard day’s work; were smashed like minced meat on the road by unlatched containers.
In Chidinma’s case, the truck driver was said to have run away. He took with him the vehicle’s papers so he wouldn’t be traced and apprehended by the police.
Shouldn’t we be asking where the police were looking when he passed them on the road; knowing he ought not to have driven his truck at that hour but between the hours of 11pm and 5am; as directed by government?
Didn’t this truck driver pass any Road Safety official before he dumped steel on Chidinma Ajoku and her colleague; killing them on the road as they headed home?
This is one gruesome death too many and we must not sigh and move on. This is no time to point accusing fingers at the FRSC, aka government; while government points at terminal operators whose job it is to ensure the trucks are properly loaded from the ports and certify the trucks fit to carry these containers and terminal operators point at the bad roads…Back to government…and the circle of blame continues.
Someone has to pay. Someone has to be held accountable for Chidinma’s death. This is a young woman struggling through the system to better her life; having acquired a university degree. Her life was spread out before her and through no fault of hers; brutally cut short because some container driver who had no basic knowledge of road safety rules; flouts the government’s regulations and drives scot free, leaving pain in its wake.
Reports say the police are still looking for the fleeing driver. They claim they can’t find him. Haba! So, the FRSC don’t have data for the truck’s registration number? The police can easily back track and find out whodunit; even lay detectives can figure this out.
So, back to the question, why should we care about Chidinma Ajoku’s death?
Because she shouldn’t be a statistic. Because Chidinma Ajoku is one too many victims of this savage and sudden deaths and someone should answer to these. Also, because we are all road users. If Chidinma was not safe using it, no one else is.
Because government should be accountable to its people and stop making polite noises and pointing accusing fingers. Because groups and bodies like the truck owners’ association or even truck driver’s associations should grow a conscience and be made to pay for lives needlessly taken by their drivers on the roads.
And because no mother should have to bury her young.
Indeed, for the sake of a woman, who only last year lost her husband; someone high up should do something, so Chidinma doesn’t die in vain!