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Otedola tanker inferno: Senate calls for investigation, stricter enforcement of road traffic rules on articulated vehicles

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By Olasunkanmi Akoni

Members of the Senate, yesterday, urged the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), the Nigerian Police Force and all other relevant Security Agencies to collaborate with Lagos State and other states in investigating culpability in the Otedola Bridge tanker explosion and ensuring that truck drivers comply with traffic rules and regulations.

The call became necessary following the unfortunate inferno that engulfed a tanker conveying petroleum products which claimed 12 lives and 58 vehicles along the Otedola Bridge in Lagos, last Thursday, June 28th, 2018.

Senators further resolved to direct its relevant committees to invite the FRSC and NNPC to develop solutions to prevent such accidents in future, while also urging the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing and State Governments to accelerate the development of trailer parks and installation of weigh-bridges to manage the trailer movement on our roads.

This resolution was reached following a motion sponsored by the Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, who addressed the Senate under Order 42 which provides for Matters of Urgent Public Importance.

In the Motion captioned; “Need to enforce stricter driving regulations against petrol tankers, trailers and other articulated vehicles across Nigeria,” Ashafa identified human error as the major cause of such accidents stating that “The Senate is further concerned that there seems to be a clear trail of preventable human error, lack of road worthiness as the prevalent causes of these life threatening accidents.”

Ashafa therefore, expressed displeasure over inaction of relevant authorities after a similar motion was moved in 2015 when series of fuel tanker fires occurred across Nigeria including the unfortunate tanker fire which occurred in the Upper Iweka area of Onitsha in Anambra State, claiming 70 lives, in 2015.

In his words, “The Senate is concerned that between 2015 and 2018, the same issues of fuel tanker infernos and accidents caused by articulated vehicles still bedevil our highways.”

On her part, the Senator representing Lagos Central, Senator Oluremi Tinubu OON, while contributing to the motion complained about the state of Nigerian roads while appealing to Government to create transit parks for trailer drivers. She stated that “Unfortunately the roads were appalling, we are all very familiar with the Lagos- Ibadan express way. I want to appeal to the Senate and Nigeria as a whole to create trailer parks.”

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki said that: “This is a lesson that we need to learn from. Those agencies that are in charge of ensuring the safety of tanker movement across the country must ensure compliance to ensure that the tanker drivers have gotten adequate licenses and vehicles have received their adequate certificates showing that they are in good condition to ply our roads.

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