A fully-loaded 33,000-litre fuel tanker which was heading inwards Berger on Thursday evening, had a brake failure and exploded on Otedola Bridge along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, killing no fewer than 10 people and gutting about 67 vehicles.
Newsworth gathered that while the driver was trying to control the articulated vehicle, it rammed into one of the vehicles, tumbled and went up in flames at about 6pm. Some motorists abandoned their vehicles and fled in different directions.
Speaking on the incident, General Manager of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, Tiamiyu Adeshina, 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.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed shock and sorrow over the inferno in Lagos, calling on the emergency services and law enforcement agencies to do their best to limit the losses and damage from the incident.
He insisted that “the priority now is to save those people who could still be in danger.”
The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, quoted his principal in a statement, as expressing sadness on learning of the tragic loss of lives, vehicles, property and other valuables in the petrol tanker fire.
While conveying his deepest condolences to the government and people of Lagos on the tragedy, Buhari said, “Sadly, this seems to be one of the greatest tragedies we have seen in recent times,” said Buhari.
The Lagos state government also commiserated with families of victims who died in the inferno, describing the petrol tanker fire as most unfortunate and regrettable.
In a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, the state government said the incident was a sad development.
“On behalf of the Lagos State Government, we extend our deepest commiseration to the families of persons who lost their lives as well as properties to the incident.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with them in this time of pain and grief.
“As a government, we will not relent in putting measures in place to ensure safety of lives and property of all residents,” the statement read..
The commissioner also 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.