By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Vehicular movement was practically brought to a halt on Saturday as tanker, laden with 45, litres of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, called petrol, spilled it’s contents in the early hours at Alaka, inward National Stadium Bridge, Western Avenue, Surulere, Lagos.
The traffic was also a bumper to bumper situation along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, by Berger to Otedola Bridge axis as a result of influx of vehicles among the axis.
Similarly, motorists and residents around Mile-2 area, along Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, expressed concern over persistent gridlock in the area following high influx of trucks, parking indiscriminately on the highway leading to standstill situation.
However, danger was averted as rescue team, in a prompt response, battled to prevent possible fire explosion from the fallen tanker at Alaka, inward National Stadium Bridge, Western Avenue, Surulere, Lagos.
The incident, which happened at the wee hours, precisely, 4 am, Saturday, according to eyewitness, led to gridlock on the ever busy major road, which lasted for several hours.
Men of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, Federal Road Safety Corps, Police, were seen on the road controlling traffic to keep it moving and prevent static situation.
As early as 7 am, the Funsho Williams Avenue has witnessed heavy gridlock with long backlog as a result of the fallen oil tanker which occupied almost 90 per cent of the road.
Mr Ayinla Ibrahim, a motorist who was caught in the gridlock, blamed the state rescue team for slow response to emergency situations.
Ibrahim lamented: “I have been in this traffic for over two hours. We learnt a tanker spilled contents on the road y now the rescue team supposed to have evacuated it from the road. What’s stopping them from removing it within two hours. It not easy commuting in Lagos easily this days.”
In a prompt response, men of the Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service, in collaboration with their Federal counterpart raced to the scene to salvage the situation from a secondary incident.
The 45,000 litres tanker belonging to one of the major marketers in the oil and gas industry, was conveying PMS from a Lagos depot to an unknown destination when it involved in a lone accident resulting in the spillage of its contents.
Director, Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service, Mrs. Adeseye Margaret, while giving the update on the incident said, the situation was promptly put under control as of press time, 4 pm after transloading of the contents to another truck.
According to Adeseye, “The situation is under control as the LASTMA officials had diverted traffic from both the fast and service lane to the outward bound lane.
“There is no traces of injury or death as none of the driver or assistants are in sight while mopping up and evacuation continues.”
The fire service boss, therefore, urged motorists of the need to exercise utmost caution within the axis given the volatility of the products involved.
The Divisional Police Officer DPO, Chief Superintendent of Police, CSP, Adebayo Adeoya, made the first distress call to Fire Service, LASTMA and Lagis State Emergency Agency, LASEMA officials.
The police patrol teams deployed to the scene immediately cordoned off the place while providing adequate protection for the Fire fighters and others. The scene was later neutralized.
Meanwhile, the police are still maintaining their presence at the scene to protect lives and property and prevent hoodlums from scooping the fuel.
Motorists were also stranded along Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, following persistent gridlock along the axis to Port access roads ocassioned by indiscriminate parking of truckers.
The traffic on Saturday, stretched as long as Ijesha, Mile-2 to Otto Wolf, inward Tin-Can Port.
According to a motorist, Mr Yemi Oladimeji, “This has been a recurring experience here. It’s like there is no presence of government here. Is it that the truckers are bigger than government.
“The truckers have blocked Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, with no presence of Lagos State Traffic Team set up by Governor Bababjide Sanwo-Olu as well as LASTMA, official, they are nowhere to control the ugly situation. I have been in this traffic for more than four hours just to connect Kirikiri side of Apapa. This has always been the case.
“The truckers are lords here. They are the Boko Haram in Apapa. The untouchable. We are earnestly waiting for the period the normal situation will be restored permanently in the interest of the general public.”