Otedola bridge fire shocking, says President Buhari
I saw some motorists’ failed attempt to run for safety – eyewitness
By Adekunle Aliyu, Olasunakanmi Akani, Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Monsurudeen Olowoopejo
ABUJA – It was black Thursday in Lagos yesterday, as a fully-loaded 33,000-litre fuel tanker exploded on Otedola Bridge along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, killing many people and razing about 67 vehicle.
Vanguard gathered that some of the victims’ body were from the drain beside the road.
Speaking to one of the survival, Adewale Adesanya, told Vanguard that they never envisaged that the truck would experience any brake failure.
Adesanya narrated that immediately the vehicle experienced brake failure, it fell and started spilling it’s contents.
“Due to the state of the road, I saw the content spilling towards my vehicle with fire accompanying it. So I quickly ran out of the vehicle and cross to the other side to avoid being caught in the inferno.”
Another commuter, Micheal Simon, whose car was razed, said: “I am happy I didn’t die while trying to escape from the scene. I tried maneuvering my vehicle to avoid being burnt but my efforts proved abortive.”
Maria Oje, another eyewitness described her escape as the handiwork of God. She narrated, in tears, how she saw some motorists’ failed attempt to run for safety.
Her words: “One of them, who was on fire, fell down, as he could not run any longer. Nobody could rescue them as everyone was also running for dear life.”
President Muhammadu Buhari last night expressed shock and sorrow over the fire incident in Lagos, in which many people were feared killed with several vehicles burnt.
The President was sad to learn of the tragic loss of lives, tens of vehicles, property and other valuables in the petrol tanker fire.
He expressed his deepest condolences to the government and people of Lagos on this tragedy.
A statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu quoted the President as saying, “Sadly, this seems to be one of the greatest tragedies we have seen in recent times .”
The President urged the emergency services and law enforcement officials to do their best to limit the losses and damage from the incident, saying that the priority now was to save those people who could still be in danger.
Also the The Lagos State Government has commiserated with families of victims who lost their lives and property in a fatal tanker explosion, which occurred on Thursday evening on Otedola Bridge, inward Ojodu Berger area of the State.
The incident, which occurred at about 5pm, left, scores of vehicles burnt while some lives were lost.
The Government, in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, described the incident as a sad development, saying that the incident was most unfortunate and regrettable.
“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 would not relent in putting measures in place to ensure safety of lives and property of all residents,” Bamigbetan said.
The Commissioner said that Governor Ambode has directed all relevant agencies to move into the area to normalise the apprehension that had taken over the area and to also ensure that those in need are adequately taken care of.
The governor assured that clearing of the highway of damaged vehicles to establish normal traffic flow would continue throughout the night until the objective is achieved.
He called for the co-operation of all citizens with the officials of the agencies to restore the situation to normalcy.
He also urged motorists to continue to adhere to the safety standard and the State Traffic Laws so as to prevent a re-occurrence of such incidents.
Commissioner for special duties, Mr. Oluseye Oladejo, also hinted that the State Government would be investigating the accident to prevent future occurrence.
Oladejo in an interview with Vanguard, described the accident as tragedic considering the lives lost and enormous property lost to the disaster.
He said: “We are trying to evacuate the vehicle from the road to reduce the gridlock presently experience because this is a very important road to both Lagos and Ogun state.
“This is the worst we have experienced on this road. I can assure you that we will investigate the issue and inform residents our outcome. ”
Speaker commiserates with families of victims
The Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa also commiserated with the families of victims.
Obasa in his condolence message by his Chief Press Secretary, Musbau Rasak, described the incident as “a sad development,” and prayed to God to give the victims’ families the fortitude to hear the loss.
“It is a sad development and I share the feeling of those who lost their loved ones in this incident. I pray to God to give the victims’ families the fortitude to bear the loss,” he said.
Nine persons died in the petrol tanker fire around Otedola Bridge on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway on Thursday after it caught fire and spread the inferno to the vehicles behind, the Federal Road Safety Corps said.
The FRSC also said in its update that the victims were burnt beyond recognition. There were four other serious injuries.
According to the FRSC, 54 vehicles were burnt. There were 45 cars caught in the inferno, along with five buses, two trucks, inec tricycle and the tanker itself .
The accident, outward Lagos, happened around 5.30pm today.
According to Bisi Kazeem, spokesman of the FRSC, the cause of accident was break failure suffered by the petrol laden tanker.
A Joint rescue operation involving FRSC, LASEMA, NPF, RRS, NSCDC, Lagos State Fire service, LASTMA was mounted promptly within 10 minutes of the accident.