●Abiodun bans trucks on bridges
Three people lost their lives when a fuel tanker crashed and exploded in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital. Six other people suffered different degrees of burns in the accident which occurred on IBB Boulevard, Kuto, Abeokuta. The accident prompted Governor Dapo Abiodun to ban trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles from plying bridges in the state. The tanker crashed into vehicles and exploded when the driver lost control of the wheels owing to brake failure while descending from an overhead bridge in the area.
Seven vehicles and six motorcycles were burnt. The driver swerved across the road median, crashed into oncoming vehicles on other lane and subsequently went up inflames. Witnesses said commuters and a motorcyclist trapped by the tanker were burnt “beyond recognition”.
The explosion threw residents and passers-by into panic as many motorists were directed to make U-turn and headed for alternative routes within the metropolis. The incident also brought commercial activities in the area to a halt as officials of a GTBank branch near the scene hurriedly shut down operations for the day. The Director of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Ige Olufolarin, confirmed that three people died, six sustained injuries while seven vehicles and six motorcycles were burnt. “We don’t want conflicting figures. Three persons are now confirmed dead. Their bodies have been evacuated,” Olufolarin told our correspondent . A survivor, Ososanya Taiwo, who escaped from one the vehicles trapped by the tanker, said the tanker driver gave a sign of brake failure while descending resifrom the bridge.
Taiwo, an official of the state Ministry of Housing, said the driver, in a bid to avoid greater calamity, swerved and crashed into the other side of the road. Meanwhile, Governor Abiodun banned tankers and other articulated vehicles from plying bridges in the state when he visited the scene of the accident to assess the level of damage. Abiodun, who described the accident as sad and unfortunate, vowed that stiffer punishment would be meted out to any tanker found culpable. He added that the state would soon roll out measures by checking road worthiness of vehicles, especially tankers and articulated vehicles plying roads in the state.
The governor said the ban was meant to safeguard the lives and property of the citizens in view of explosions in different parts of the state. Abiodun expressed concern that the bridges constructed to solve problems have in turn created other problems.
The governor said the injured, who were badly burnt, had been taken to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Idi-Aba and the State Hospital, Ijaye, both in Abeokuta. He said: “The record that we have as of now is that we have three casualties, we have another six people that sustained various degrees of burns. Three of them are at the Federal Medical Centre and the other three are at Ijaye Hospital, receiving urgent medical attention.
“We have gone a step further by inviting burns specialists from Lagos to come and attend to those that have about 80 to 90 per cent burns which require special attention and have since arrived in Abeokuta. They will make an explanation if there will be a need to transport them to the Burns Centre in Lagos.