Calabar – Gov Ben Ayade of Cross River has decried the tragic death of some persons due to fuel tanker explosion at New Netim junction in Odukpani local government area.
Ayade conveyed his condolence in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Christian Ita, on Saturday in Calabar.
“My heart goes out to all the victims of the fuel tanker explosion. This is the most horrendous way to die.
“I am too shocked and traumatized to express the depth of my grief for the victims of the explosion.
“As a government, we must try and reach out to the victims’ families who are affected by these avoidable deaths.
“Whatever circumstances that led to this unfortunate incident must be thoroughly investigated. This is one tragedy too many. We must do something to ensure this does not happen again,” he said.
Ayade pleaded with residents not to subject themselves to such avoidable deaths, adding that the state Ministry of Information and Orientation would begin sensitisation campaign on the matter.
He said that the campaign should educate the citizens on the dangers of scooping fuel from fallen tankers laden with petroleum products.
Mr Chidiebere Nkwonta, Sector Commander of Federal Road Safety Corps in the state, confirmed the incident.
Nkwonta, who spoke to NAN in a telephone interview, said that the tanker fell off the road side at around 2pm on Friday.
“We suspected the incident to have happened out of speed violation on the side of the driver. He was slightly injured when my men visited the scene.
“We did our best to ensure safety around the scene by ensuring free flow of movement around the area.
“Unfortunately, at night, some people went there and started scooping fuel and there was an explosion that resulted to mass casualty.
“I want to use this medium to advise people to stop scooping fuel from fallen tankers laden with petroleum product, it’s not safe,” he said.
NAN reports that some of the victims who sustained third degree injuries were currently receiving treatment at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital. (NAN)