About 17 vehicles, including a Dangote truck loaded with bags of cement, got burnt in an explosive tragedy that claimed two lives.
The incident was initiated at Bible College bus stop, Sango, along the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, Ogun State when a petrol-laden tanker fell and exploded around 11.30pm on Thursday.
This is just as the state Governor, Mr Dapo Abiodun, in a statement on Friday commiserated with the victims, promising that the incessant accidents on the expressway would soon be a thing of the past.
A motorist, Muhammed Abdullahi, who witnessed the incident said the container on the tanker tilted and he quickly disembarked from his vehicle to inform the driver of the imminent danger.
The eyewitness said he was approaching the truck when the tanker skidded off and went up in flames.
At the scene of the incident on Friday morning, Abdullahi told our correspondent that the tanker driver was driving against the traffic heading for Lagos.
He said some people informed him that soldiers were ahead controlling traffic and would send him back.
Abdullahi said the driver wanted to make a U-turn to connect the right lane when the tanker tilted to one side.
He stated, “The tanker driver was driving against traffic. Some people told him that soldiers were in the front and that they would stop him. As he wanted to turn back, the vehicle tilted and the container wanted to fall.
“I was not far from the tanker. I saw when it wanted to fall and rushed out of my vehicle to tell the driver. It suddenly fell and in less than one minute, it caught fire. Firefighters didn’t come on time. About 10 minutes after they arrived, they said water had finished. Many vehicles were burnt.”
Another eyewitness, who gave his name only as Sunkanmi, said while the fire raged on, some hoodlums pounced on a van conveying sachets of confectionery and stole the product.
He said, “I was there throughout the night while the fire was burning. I saw a rescued victim. His skin had peeled away. There was a man who parked his vehicle at a distance when he saw the fire. The fire later spread to where the car was around 2am and burnt it.
“A man and his wife were trapped in their car. The man was able to escape but his wife got burnt. Unfortunately some ‘bad boys’ saw the incident as an opportunity to steal. They vandalised a van loaded with confectionery and stole as many as they could.”
The incident resulted in gridlock which held many for hours while others who got the news of the explosion from far distance were forced to take deplorable inner roads.
The Ogun State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Mr Clement Oladele, in a statement on Friday confirmed that two persons – a man and woman – were killed in the fire while six persons were injured.
He identified the vehicles trapped in the fire as a tanker, nine trucks, two buses, a Toyota Camry, a Toyota Sienna and a trailer.
“A blue truck filled with bundles of confectionery sachets and a Dangote Cement truck were burnt. Two burnt corpses were evacuated to the Ifo General Hospital mortuary, Ogun State. The six injured victims were rescued to the hospital,” Oladele added.
The sector commander said the tanker was suspected to have had a mechanical fault which resulted in the accident.
“The spilled contents spread from the ShopRite Mall in Sango up to the FRSC Command Office located at the old Tollgate, destroying vehicles and other property.
“Motorists especially tanker drivers transporting flammable products should adhere strictly to the 1957 United Nations Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangreous Goods by Roads which Nigeria was recently a signatory to. The ADR requires trucks conveying dangerous goods, including petroleum products to be installed with tanker’s seal valve, which prevents the liquefied contents from spilling its contents in the event of a road traffic crash.”
Meanwhile, the Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, said the planned takeover of the road by both the Ogun and Lagos state governments would end unnecessary loss of lives and property on the highway.
He said, “I am most distressed by the news of the midnight inferno at Sango, which was the result of an accident by a fuel-laden truck.
“It is heartbreaking that many lives were lost in addition to properties running into millions of naira. This sad occurrence has made our quest to take over the management of this road more compelling. The incessant road mishap around the toll gate axis is avoidable.
“While I commiserate with those who lost their loved ones and property, we shall do everything humanly possible to forestall a recurrence. I use this opportunity to once again plead that the Federal Government should approve the request of both the Ogun and Lagos state governments to take over this all-important Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway.”
It was said that six others suffered varying degrees of burns.
Man Video-calling His Girlfriend gets Crushed by a Car
On Wednesday, a 26-year-old man, Olajide Asade, was crushed to death by a commercial car, while he was making a video call to his girlfriend at the Adedero village on the Abeokuta-Siun-Sagamu Expressway.
The accident involved a Honda Odyssey car with number plate AAA 589 FV, which was conveying crates of eggs.
It was gathered that the deceased was reportedly making a video call to his girlfriend while crossing the road when the accident occurred.
An eyewitness told our correspondent that the deceased and his brother boarded a car from the Kuto motor park in Abeokuta, but the vehicle developed a mechanical fault on the road.
The eyewitness said while the other passengers were standing by the roadside waiting for the driver to repair the vehicle, the deceased reportedly concentrated on the video call.
The deceased’s brother, Azeez, said they were both travelling to their mother’s residence in the Ajah area of Lagos State.
Azeez confirmed that his brother had been making a video call to his girlfriend since they took off from Kuto in Abeokuta.
He added that they left their apartment at Ijoga in Abeokuta very early in the morning to embark on the journey.
Azeez maintained that the driver of the car, who hit Olajide, was on a normal speed.
The driver, whose car hit the deceased, Bolaji Balogun, said Olajide was the one who bumped into his vehicle.
Balogun, an employee of an agro firm, said he was going to the Obasanjo Farm to purchase crates of eggs for his company.
The driver stated that the deceased had already got to the front of his car before he could apply the brake.
Confirming the crash, the Public Relations Officer of the Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps, Babatunde Akinbiyi, said there were two male occupants in the vehicle that killed Olajide.
He stated, “There is a road diversion along the Abeokuta-Siun-Sagamu interchange due to the ongoing reconstruction; the deceased probably assumed it would be better and safer for him to cross to the other side, where road reconstruction is ongoing.
“The man, while crossing back to the other side of the road, was making a video call and was oblivious to the fact that a vehicle was coming from the Sagamu end to Abeokuta.
“The vehicle, a Honda Odyssey, hit him and he died on the spot.
“His corpse has been deposited in the morgue of the General Hospital, Ijaiye, Abeokuta, while the driver of the Honda Odyssey and the vehicle are now at the state Motor Traffic Division, Ibara, Abeokuta.”
60 Northern Travellers Intercepted in a Cow-filled Truck at Lagos-Ibadan Expressway
On Monday, several security outfits intercepted about 60 men hiding in a Lagos-bound truck filled with cows at the Berger end of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
It was gathered that the travellers, who reportedly came from Zamfara and neighbouring states, were heading for the Agege area of Lagos.
It was learnt that some of the men jumped down from the truck and fled on sighting the personnel of the Lagos State Task Force on Environmental Sanitation and Special Offences (Enforcement Unit), the Rapid Respond Squad, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps, Vehicle Inspection Officers and the Ogun State Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps at the boundary between both states.
The security personnel, however, denied them access into the state and turned them back.
The motor boy, who accompanied the truck from Zamfara State, Kabiru Haruna, said the cows were meant to be delivered to an abattoir in Agege and expressed surprise that the security agents stopped them.
He said, “We left Zamfara around 6 pm on Sunday, but not all of us here are from Zamfara State. Some are from Sokoto, Kano and Kebbi states. I am the motor boy for the truck, and I followed it from Zamfara down to where we are currently.
“We want to deliver the cows to an abattoir in Agege. I can’t really say the exact time we were stopped because I did not take note of the time. I don’t know why we were stopped.”
The truck driver was asked to go back to the point of take off after most of the fleeing men had regrouped at the pin-down point in Berger.
Confirming the incident to one of our correspondents, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, said the men could not be allowed into the state.
He stated, “Forty-two men from Zamfara State hid in a truck and were intercepted at the Berger end of the expressway. The law is very clear; if you’re escorting a vehicle conveying food items, you must not be more than seven, but these people violated the law, and they were turned back.
“We have been searching all vehicles and all food items thoroughly to be sure that nobody is being smuggled into the state and this has helped us. We have sent the truck back; it cannot come into the state.”
Ebonyi Man Whips 11-year-old Neighbour to Death
On Tuesday, an Ogbonnaya Daniel was arrested by the Ebonyi state police for killing the 11-year-old daughter of his co-tenant, Miss Ukamaka Nwuzor.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mrs. Loveth Odah, stated this in a statement in Abakaliki on Tuesday.
Odah said the matter was reported to the command’s ‘B’ Division, Kpirikpiri, Abakaliki by the deceased’s father, Peter Nwuzor.
She said following the beating, the victim was taken to the Alex Ekweme Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki (AE-FETHA) for treatment where she was confirmed dead.
Odah said the suspect had been arrested and an investigation was ongoing after which he would be charged to court.
The statement read, “On May 2, 2020, at 2.15 pm, one Peter Nwuzor of Omege Avenue, Abakaliki, reported at ‘B’ Division Kpirikpiri, that by 9am of the same date, his co-tenant at the address mentioned above, one Ogbonna Daniel, aged 28, a native of Asaga in Arochukwu Local Government Area of Abia State, beat up his daughter Ukamaka Nwuzor, aged 11, to a coma.
“Following the report, police detectives immediately visited the scene of the incident. The victim was rushed to the A-E Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki (AE-FETHA I) for medical treatment, but was later confirmed dead by the medical practitioner on duty. The corpse was deposited at the same hospital mortuary for preservation and autopsy.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect is a next-door neighbour of the deceased’s family and there was an altercation that the deceased (Ukamaka) poured unclean water near the suspect’s apartment. As a result, he descended on her, beat her to a coma, which led to her death.”
Imam arrested for Flouting Ban on Gatherings in Delta
The Imam of Ekakpamre, Mohammad Young Okotie was on Friday arrested by Delta state police officers for defying the ban on gatherings.
The Imam had defied the stay-at-home and social distancing order of the state government and led hundreds of Islamic faithful in congregational Jum’at service.
The incident happened on Friday, April 23 at Otu-Jeremi in Ughelli South Local Government Area of the state.
“Imam Okotie led hundreds of Muslim faithful, and held Jumat service at the Ekakpamre Central Mosque in Ughelli South Local Government Area, thereby violating the prohibition on gatherings in the state,” a source told our correspondent.
When contacted, the State Police Public Relations Officer, Onome Onowakpoyeya, confirmed the arrest.
He said, “The Imam was arrested about 11 am on Friday, May 1, 2020.
“He is currently held at the Otu-Jeremi Police Station for possible prosecution according to the laws of the land.
“The State Commissioner of Police, Hafiz Mohammed-Inuwa, had ordered his arrest a few days ago.”
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