By James Ogunnaike, ABEOKUTA
When a fuel-laden tanker upturned while inbound Rounder from Oju-Irin, Lafenwa, Ogun State, spilling its content, police tried to maintain order.
But the motorists, hoodlums and residents were bent on scooping the fuel from the tanker that fell when its axle broke over a failed portion of rail track.
It was said that hoodlums, enraged by the Police action, lit a fire that led to the explosion.
By the fire was done, a grandmother and her granddaughter were dead; property destroyed, firemen mobbed, police stoned, four emergency officials’ vehicles vandalised and two persons shot.
The Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, has confirmed that a woman and her grandchild were burnt beyond recognition.
The Ogun State Sector Commander, FRSC, Mr Ahmed Umar disclosed this to newsmen in Abeokuta, the state capital.
Umar, who had earlier confirmed the explosion, stated that the tanker with registration number FKJ 558 XY fell as a result of bad road.
He explained that the FRSC, police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and Fire Service were on ground, saying the injured had been taken to the hospital.
“The two deceased were burnt beyond recognition. Fire service vehicle was destroyed by a mob who also threw stones at security agencies who were on ground.
“The police were able to calm the situation and few of the hoodlums were arrested, ” he said.
On his part, the spokesperson, Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps (TRACE), Mr Babatunde Akinbiyi, who had earlier confirmed the incident to newsmen, said the tanker engulfed in fire due to the uncooperative attitude of people around the axis who were scooping fuel and other unwholesome act which sparked off the fire.
The TRACE spokesman explained that the tanker, due to axle problem overturned around 4 :45am while making its way inbound Rounder from Oju-Irin, Lafenwa, spilling its content on the road.
Akinbiyi said, “while TRACE, POLICE, FRSC, FIRE SERVICE, OGSAS, SEMA and other first responders were working assiduously to restore normalcy, as transloading was already in progress then.
“The general public, particularly the motoring public, domiciled and moving around the axis were already scooping fuel and engaging in other unwholesome act, which regrettably sparked off the fire.
“Two lives were lost in the unfortunately inferno, that of a grandmother and grand child, whose gender cannot be ascertained, while property worth millions of naira were destroyed.
“The bodies have been deposited at the morgue of the General Hospital, Ijaiye, Abeokuta.
“Moreover, two patrol vans belonging to TRACE Divisional Command, Abeokuta, and two heavy duty vehicles belonging to the Federal and State Fire Service, were also vandalised.
“Some of Service operatives (TRACE and fire service) were also assaulted during the rescue operation.”
He advised the general public to vacate the vicinity, saying that TRACE, police, FRSC and Fire Service were all on ground to put the situation under control.