3rd August, 2011
Dangote Sugar Plc has said it did not compensate victims of the August 15, 2010 multiple accidents on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway because there was no conclusive evidence that its truck driver caused the mishap.
A Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) report had said a Dangote truck, which allegedly rammed into vehicles in a gridlock, had a brake failure, but the company refuted the report today at the ongoing inquest on the accident.
Over 40 persons and several vehicles were burnt in the accident.
Testifying before the Ikeja District Coroner, Mr Tajudeen Elias at the inquest, Head of Accident and Recovery Unit of Dangote Sugar, Mr Usman Ahmed, said the company compensates victims only when there is proof that its driver or truck is at fault.
Asked why his company has done nothing for the victims, he said: â€œHow can somebody make settlements for something he has not done? We only pay if investigation reveals that a Dangote driver or truck is at fault.â€
Ahmed, under cross examination by counsel to Access to Justice (AJ), Mr Leonard Dibia, claimed the FRSC report was amazing and laughable.
â€œThe report is amazing. I was surprised. I laughed. There was a brake mark on the road which means there was no brake failure. There is no way the trailer would be overspeeding and not run through other stationary vehicles. It will not just hit them from behind,â€ he said.
Ahmed further said he was not sure if Dangote Sugar officially denied the FRSC report until the inquest. He said he did not see such a publication.
To this, Dibia said: â€œThe reason you did not deny or counter the FRSC report indicting Dangote truck was because you had nothing contrary to say to the allegation.â€
Ahmed added that he was not in a position to know when last the truck was serviced as he was not in the engineering department.
He added that investigation into the accident was still ongoing, which is why he has not submitted a written report to his management yet.
He said all Dangote trucks have speed trackers, so the truck could not have been over speeding, adding that the company only recruits experienced and licenced drivers who undergo further tests and training.
â€œWe have an engineering section that maintains the vehicles. No vehicles are allowed to move out without thorough checks,â€ he said.
The inquest continues next week.