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Lagos-Ibadan expressway on lockdown as tanker spills fuel

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For many hours yesterday, vehicular traffic in the Berger-Ibafo area of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway came to a standstill when motorists perceived danger and swiftly diverted their vehicles to the other lane to avoid another explosion tragedy.

A truck taking fuel outside Lagos suddenly broke down towards the Warewa end of the Long Bridge and started spilling its content onto the road.

Memories of similar incident recently on the Otedola Bridge, Lagos, in which more than 50 vehicles were burnt and scores of travellers lost their lives were still fresh in the memory just as security agents stopped vehicles from driving close to the leaking truck.

The motorists made a detour to the other lane, driving against the traffic until the Ibadan-Lagos route became gridlocked and the situation got worse, while officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) battled to neutralize the spilling fuel with trucks loads of water to avoid a fire outbreak.

The un-tarred roads beneath the bridge were also jam-packed as motorists struggled to get out of the gridlock. Motorists who spoke to The Guardian lamented the situation, which they described as an advertisement of lack of planning, resulting from bad leadership.

A traveller from the South East, who claimed to be a security officer but would not want to further reveal his identity, said the government ought to have understood the security implications of not having alternative routes to enter or exit Lagos via the Lagos-Ibadan road whenever there is traffic problem in the Long Bridge and the Berger Bridge.

“There is a ministry for planning in this country, what exactly are they planning? Do you need to be told that this is the major route to exit Lagos, the home for all? Each time there is this type of problem on this road, what I look at is the security aspect. We are not praying for attack, if anything happens to either the Long or Berger bridge today, residents of Lagos are in serious trouble on how to escape.

“In a security-conscious nation, the government would have provided alternative roads beside this one that is the busiest in West Africa. When will we ever get anything right in this country?” he lamented.

A woman, Mrs. Ibidun Komolafe, who was driving herself with her two daughters at the back of her Mercedes 180 car, simply said: “We don’t have government. Lagos is trying. Each time there is problem on this road, it is Lagos State that we see, doing the job of others, and that is why they are going higher. I saw LASEMA on a rescue mission and I prayed for them and their governor.”

Thousands of motorists traveling out of Lagos were stranded on the busy Lagos-Ibadan expressway for hours due to a tanker trailer that fell across the road. Though the immediate cause of the accident could not be ascertained as at the time of this report, the incident gravely affected the free flow of traffic.

It took about six hours for motorists to move from Berger Bus Stop to Mowe, a distance of about five kilometers. The traffic started moving at Mowe long after the tanker trailer was cleared off the road at about 1:30p.m., but by that time, a lot of travelers had been exhausted.

The Lagos State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Mr Hyginus Omeje, said the accident occurred at 5:56a.m. on Sunday. According to him, the tanker loaded with petroleum product lost control and rammed into another vehicle, injuring three people.

The FRSC boss said the vehicles involved were a white Mack Tanker and white Iveco truck with Registration number LSR460XG and LND 818XN respectively. He said efforts were in place by the commission and other agencies to remove obstructions while advising motorists to exercise patience along the corridor.

Meanwhile, the FRSC says it has deployed four breathalysers to detect drunk driving along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway during the Eid el-Kabir holidays. Omeje said the breathalysers would help FRSC officials to detect drivers driving under the influence of alcohol.

A total of 26 patrol vehicles with two motorbikes, radar guns and two ambulances, have also been deployed to ensure effective vehicular movement during the festival, Omeje said.

He added: “We have deployed over 1,500 personnel, comprising of Regular and Special Marshals for traffic control activities along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Lekki/Epe/Ijebu-Ode highway, the Lagos-Badagry expressway and the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway. The special patrols will focus on wrongful overtaking, speeding, violation of the speed limiting device, overloading, violation of drivers’ licence and use of phone while driving.”

The FRSC boss said there are help and ambulance points at OPIC, on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway for prompt rescue. Omeje advised the motoring public to ensure proper vehicle checks before embarking on any trip, avoid driving with expired or worn out tyres, as well as night journeys.


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