Investigations reveals ‘Otedola Bridge Tanker’ was overloaded

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A preliminary investigation into the cause of last week’s tanker explosion that claimed nine lives and over 50 vehicles in Lagos has revealed that the ill-fated truck was carrying twice its pulling capacity.

The state Commissioner for Transport, Ladi Lawanson, who addressed the media on the incident yesterday, said the truck should not have been loaded to 30 tons, as it was designed for 14959kg, which is 15 tons. Besides, he said the vehicle was converted from a drilling rig to a fuel tank carrier.

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The last week’s tanker explosion occurred at the Otedola Bridge area of Ojodu-Berger.

To avert a recurrence of oil tanker explosion in Lagos, the state government yesterday directed drivers of all articulated vehicles plying the roads to obtain the Ministry of Transportation’s certificate of roadworthiness within 30 days.

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Lawanson said the government would ensure all vehicle owners in Lagos obtain the road-worthiness certificate.

“We call on motorists and the general public to join hands with us to prevent avoidable deaths caused by vehicles that are unfit to ply the roads. Let us protect each other by asking our friends to save lives by obtaining their road worthiness certificates,” he said.

Lawanson said as part of measures to avert accidents caused by articulated vehicles, fuel tankers would be made to ply designated route of Apapa-Oworonsoki Expressway, via Ogudu, to Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

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The commissioner also disclosed that investigation revealed that the ill-fated truck, which was manufactured in 1999, was registered in Kano State and has changed ownership 13 times since purchase.

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He hinted that new centres would quickly be created along the Lagos–Ibadan Expressway to cope with the expected high demand for the roadworthiness certificate. He listed 10 centres available to process applications immediately: Berger, Ojodu; Odogunyan, Ikorodu; Agric/Ishawo road, Ikorodu; Worksyard, PWD, Shogunle; NCI, Gbagada; VIS Yard, Oko-Afo, Badagry; VIS Yard, Ayobo, Ipaja; Test centre, Badagry; VIS yard, Epe; and VIS Yard, Oko-Oba Abbatoir.

Lawanson said the facts gathered during the investigation had compelled a review of the legal, economic and social framework of the current management of traffic involving tankers loaded with fuel and other cargoes within Lagos State.

“We note that, operationally, imported petroleum products are pumped from import jetties at Atlas Cove through pipelines to the depots in Ejigbo (Lagos), Mosimi (Ogun), Ibadan (Oyo) Ilorin (Kwara) and Ore (Ondo). Due to vandalism of the pipelines, however, the fuel marketers are compelled to lift at Apapa.

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“Considering the high demand for petroleum products across the country, any restriction of their operations to certain hours of the day will undermine supplies and threaten the wellbeing of the economy.

“The state government is exploring alternative modes of transportation of petroleum products to separate passenger traffic from cargo movements within the metropolis in the interest of public safety and orders,” he said.

Lawanson noted that: “From the preliminary investigations, vehicular defects and human errors pose the greatest danger to the safety of the motoring public. Conscious of this fact and determined to prevent operations of unfit vehicles on our roads, the administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, in August 2017, upgraded vehicle testing operations and launched the computerised vehicle inspection centres to ensure that those that ply our roads and highways are road worthy.”

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The Commissioner for Special Duties and Inter-governmental Relations, Mr. Oluseye Oladejo, disclosed that the Commissioner for Works, Ade Akinsanya, and other agencies of the state had visited the scene and certified that the integrity of the section of the road where the accident occurred has not been compromised.

In his reaction, a Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) governorship aspirant in Ogun State, Rotimi Paseda, urged the Federal Government to expedite action on revamping the nation’s railway transportation system so as to reduce frequent carnage on the roads.

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Paseda, in a statement by his Media Aide, Michael-Azeez Ogunsiji, yesterday, said the government should allocate more funds to rail transportation in order to avoid a recurrence of such a disaster.

Similarly, tragedy struck in Kaduna at the weekend as 10 people lost their lives and several others were seriously injured in an accident along Kaduna-Kano road.

The Head of Public Enlightenment, Zaria Unit of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Idris Yahaya, confirmed the death of the 10 persons in the accident that occurred around Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic, Zaria.

Yahaya said the accident involved three vehicles, a luxury bus marked GDD 361 YE, a car marked SGR 57 XA and an articulated vehicle with registration number LND 246 XE.

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“There were 48 persons in the three vehicles; nine got burnt to death, while the tenth, a woman, died in an hospital. Altogether, 31 persons were injured while seven persons survived the accident. The driver of the luxury bus and other victims are receiving treatment at Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Shika, Zaria.”

The commission urged drivers travelling long distance to embrace the habit of stretching their legs by stopping and walking around for a while after four hours of journey.

“When a driver covers a distance of three to four hours, he should stop, relax and stretch his legs to clear the fatigue and carry on with the journey later.”

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed his sympathy with gas explosion victims in Kaduna, saying that his heart was with them in their period of distress.

Buhari said he was touched by the loss of life and economic ruin suffered by these “hard working Nigerians striving to make a living through honest labour.”

In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, yesterday, President Buhari advised Nigerians to pay greater attention to safety procedures and precautionary measures in their business places.

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