Proffers rail transportation for flammable products The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has commended the gallantry of the rescue team that responded to the tanker fire caused by a collision involving a diesel-laden tanker and an Audi car in the University of Benin (UNIBEN) axis of the Benin-Lagos Expressway.
A Petrol tanker on fire In a statement, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, quoted the governor as saying that “the incident was regrettable.” According to him, “the governor is deeply saddened by the incident. He expressed his condolences with the families of the dead and prayed for the quick recovery of those who are hospitalised. The tanker attempted to avoid a collision with two cars and a bus, veered into a ditch, and spilled fuel. Hundreds of locals rushed to the scene to take some of the spilled petrol.
About 40 minutes after the accident, the tanker exploded. The death toll was initially placed at 95, including 93 people who perished instantly and two who died after being brought to hospital. The death toll was later revised to 121 after more bodies were recovered from neighboring villages where they had been taken by their relatives. The number of injured was at least 75, although the actual number was likely higher as some were treated by relatives or at private clinics. Some 34 motorcycle taxis were destroyed.The drivers of the motorcycles, known as Okada in Nigeria, came to scoop up spilled fuel for their vehicles after learning of the accident and became victims of the explosion.
In separate statements, the Nigerian National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Federal Road Safety Commission of Rivers State gave the same figures for the incident.The NEMA statement also said that “rescue workers from the police, road safety, fire service, civil defence and NEMA were at the scene to evacuate victims and control traffic
“Worthy of mention is the gallantry of the rescue team comprising fire service officials from the Army School of Supply and Transport Barracks, the University of Benin and the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC). They showed bravery, which must be commended.” Osagie said the preliminary reports on the incident showed that one of the vehicles involved in the incident was driving against traffic, calling on road users to abide by traffic rules. Noting that the state government was particularly concerned about the fire incident and the attendant impact on other road users, he said, “the governor proposes that highly flammable products be moved by rail transportation, pipeline or at night when there is light vehicular traffic.” The governor’s aide extended the state government’s condolences with the families of the affected victims, and wished those still receiving treatment, quick recovery.
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