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Nigeria: Many Feared Dead in Lagos Petrol Tanker Fire


By Odita Sunday, Tobi Awodipe and Dennis Erezi

A police source said the tanker, which had been heading towards the Ibadan Expressway, fell on the bridge, with the ensuing fiery spill engulfing cars and people on its path.

The incident brought traffic to a standstill in the area and other parts of the city.

Lagos State police spokesman, Chike Oti, said: "It is a black Thursday. I am personally not in a happy mood. The police and other agencies are on ground. So far, we have counted 67 vehicles burnt, while 10 persons were confirmed dead. The Commissioner of Police, Lagos command, is using this opportunity to advise tanker drivers to make safety equipment available in their operations."

General Manager of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Tiamiyu Adeshina, however, said nine persons died, while four others were rushed to the hospital by the Lagos State Ambulance Service (LASAMBUS).

"About 60 cars were burnt to ashes. But we can be thankful that a lot of people had the presence of mind to abandon their cars on the spot and scamper to safety. We have no idea what made the tanker lose control yet. Investigations would take place as soon as we finish recovery. As at this evening, the fire has been brought under control and we are trying to salvage as much as we can," he said.

The state government, meanwhile, has commiserated with families of the victims.

A statement signed by Commissioner for Information and Strategy Kehinde Bamigbetan described the incident as sad, most unfortunate and regrettable.

It reads in part: "On behalf of the Lagos State Government, we extend our deepest commiseration to the families of persons who lost their lives as well as property to the incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with them in this time of pain and grief.

"As a government, we would not relent in putting measures in place to ensure the safety of life and property of all residents."

Bamigbetan disclosed that Governor Ambode directed all relevant agencies to move into the area to normalise the situation and ensure persons in need are adequately cared for.

The governor noted that efforts to clear the highway of damaged vehicles and re-establish normal traffic flow would continue throughout the night.

He urged citizens to cooperate with officials of emergency agencies, and motorists to adhere to safety standards and the state's traffic laws to prevent a recurrence.