Nine people lost their lives yesterday when a commercial bus caught fire while on transit in Ijebu-Ife, on the Ore-Ijebu-Ode-Sagamu Expressway in Ogun State.
The Toyota Hiace bus, which was conveying passengers from the eastern part of the country, was going to Lagos when the tragedy struck.
Sources said some inflammable chemical products were inside the vehicle at the time it caught fire about 3:20p.m.
The state Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Clement Oladele, disclosed that 19 passengers were in the bus.
Oladele, in a statement made available to our correspondent, stated that the deceased included seven adults and two children.
According to him, preliminary investigation revealed that the commercial bus while on transit suffered malfunctioning and had to stop intermittently at several times to repair faulty fuel pump and fuel tank.
The sector commander explained that the fuel tank was haphazardly fixed and at some point during the trip made contacts with the road surface, causing intermittent sparks.
He said: “The unidentified flammable substances conveyed in the bus assisted to intensify the inferno.”
Oladele said on receipt of the information, the FRSC rescue team raced to the crash scene and commenced rescue operations.
The FRSC boss added that the injured victims were taken to Ro’ona Hospital, Ijebu-Ode for immediate medical attention.
He said: “Nineteen passengers in all have been confirmed to be in the ill-fated bus made up of 17 adults and two children.
“The vehicle was coming from the East going to Lagos and was conveying the passengers with some chemical products identified to be inflammable products.
“Preliminary investigation by the FRSC Crash Investigator revealed that the vehicle, while on transit, suffered malfunctioning and had to stop intermittently at several times to repair the faulty fuel pump and fuel tank which they kept on managing by tying ropes to support the malfunctioned fuel tank with the connecting fuel tank connection which the driver hoped could be managed to take them to Lagos, suddenly sparked and engulfed in fire.
“The faulty fuel tank at some point in the journey detached partially from the vehicle while on motion. The tank was haphazardly fixed and at some point during the trip made contacts with the road surface causing intermittent sparks.
“The unidentified flammable substances conveyed in the bus assisted to intensify the inferno. After the fire was extinguished by the Nigeria Fire Service, a total of nine people were confirmed dead.”
Oladele advised motorists to “adhere strictly with the 1947 United Nations Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) to prevent this type of avoidable crash.”
He commiserated with the victims and requested their relatives to contact the FRSC Unit Command at Ijebu-Ode for details of the crash.