45 killed as Nigeria records another gloomy week of mishaps
It has been a gloomy week in Nigeria with two fire explosions killing at least 45 in Kogi and Ebonyi. A gas explosion ripped through a Lagos suburb on Thursday afternoon, destroying properties.
While the cases were reported as accidents, experts cite poor regulations as the underlying basis.
At least 22 bodies were recovered after a bus fell off a bridge into a river in Ebonyi.
There were 30 passengers onboard when the tragedy struck in Ivo community over the weekend. Multiple accounts say the driver was trying to overtake another vehicle when the accident happened.
First responders rescued at least five people, and search continues for the remaining three passengers as of Friday morning.
Recovered bodies have been moved to state health facilities; while the state government condoled with the families and promised a thorough inquiry.
An inferno broke out after a petrol-bearing truck rammed into 11 vehicles along the Abuja-Lokoja Highway on Wednesday. Schoolchildren were amongst at least 23 casualties recorded, officials said.
President Buhari mourned the accident as “disturbing and saddening,” according to a statement from his office.
“I am seriously worried about the frequency of these unfortunate and large scale tragedies in the country which cause needless deaths,” the Nigerian leader said.
Road safety officials said 23 lives that were lost and even more sustained injuries and were evacuated to hospitals in Lokoja, the state capital.
Residents of the central Nigerian town said the spot where the tanker crashed and exploded has been “a death trap” for years, but authorities have looked away rather than correct the hazard.
“They have not even put a warning sign to alert oncoming drivers of the danger of the bad bend and portion,” Kuburat Azeez, a bread hawker in near the spot, told Peoples Gazette Friday morning.
She joined other residents to appeal for immediate correction of the road.
While the country was still seeking answers to the disasters in Ebonyi and Kogi, another petrol truck caught fire on Thursday in Iju Ajuwon, a residential area of Lagos, while trying to offload its contents at a petrol station.
No casualties were recorded, but at least 30 people were hospitalised, officials said.
Lagos State accident and emergency management office said the explosion would be investigated. It came weeks after a fuel pipeline exploded just west of Ajuwon, killing dozens.
Truck explosions are reported regularly across the country. Experts blamed them on weak safety rules and monitoring.
“When a truck falls, it is not supposed to spill its contents,” Timothy Iwuagwu of the Institute of Safety Professionals, told Peoples Gazette on Thursday night.
Mr. Iwuagwu said fuel tankers have a manhole that is built and designed to prevent spillage of contents when they tumble during an accident. But some dubious construction workers have started building trailers with substandard manhole installation.
A retired road safety chief, Pius Agabi, told Peoples Gazette Friday morning that there should be a crackdown on manufacturers of tankers.
Virtually anybody can obtain “a licence to make tankers in the country today,” Mr. Agabi said. “But the government has to control manufacturing of tankers and initiate proper monitoring.”
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