Coroner's verdict on deadly accident involving Dangote truck delayed again

The coroner’s verdict on the cause of deaths from multiple accidents along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, in August, 2010, has been adjourned again.

The accident, which occurred after a truck belonging to Dangote Sugar Refinery Limited rammed into vehicles at the Ojodu bridge of the expressway, resulted in an inferno that led to the loss of over 40 lives.

This is the second adjournment after verdict has been fixed for the inquest initiated by Access to Justice and Femi Falana to establish the cause of the deaths arising from the accident. 

On Wednesday, 28th March, the presiding magistrate, Tajudeen Elias, moved the final day of the inquest by seven days.

At the resumed sitting, yesterday, Mr. Elias said he was not “ready” with the verdict.

The magistrate initially fixed April 18th as the adjournment date but M. A Adewopo, representing Dangote Sugar Refinery, the party summoned, said that “he will not be in town.”

Mr. Elias then set April 25 as the new date for the delivery of the verdict.

Eyebrows have been raised over the protracted inquest which has dragged on for 19 months, with more than 18 sittings.

Leonard Dibia, Program Director at Access to Justice, said that the delay in delivering the verdict is “understandable.”

“We are worried and it’s a bit discouraging but because they are human beings, sometimes you cannot presume upon their time and schedule, so we accommodate ourselves,” said Mr. Dibia, who is also the lead counsel to the group.

“Very many lives were lost, many vehicles were burnt, very many institutions were involved and before the police and Dangote had to rise to the call to defend their roles as alleged in the accident, so that made the inquest protracted,” Mr. Dibia added.

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