Experts worried over tanker fire accidents on Nigerian roads
The Risk Managers Society of Nigeria (RIMSON), has expressed concern over the rising incidence of petroleum products (liquid and gas) trucks explosions on the roads and implored the Federal Government to initiate far-reaching measures to stem the menace.
The former president, RIMSON, Jacob Adeosun, who stressed this in an interview with The Guardian, called for prompt and decisive action to address the catastrophic disasters periodically inflicted on Nigerians whenever petrol tanker accidents occur.
Appalled by the spate of the disaster Adeosun, urged the Government to take a bold risk management initiative to decisively deal with the reality.
According to him, disasters seem unending. The development is worrisome, especially on account of the irreplaceable loss of innocent lives, and the injured, who may remain deformed for life, and many who are suddenly stripped of their livelihoods as a result of the loss of their hard-earned properties (houses, shops, vehicles).
Adeosun said: “Many of the victims would never recover from the colossal losses in the absence of any viable and effective compensation scheme.”
Noting that it is pertinent to examine existing reports on fuel tanker accidents and attendant collateral damages and fatalities, he insisted that recent incidents in Onitsha, Anambra State, on October 16, reportedly destroyed 40 houses and 500 shops, worsened by avoidable deaths and injuries.
Similarly, the Upper Iweka Onitsha incident on 18 October, he quoted reports destroyed buildings, vehicles, and other valuables along the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway.
“In retrospect, we cannot forget the June 27, 2018, mayhem caused by the petrol tanker explosion on the Otedola Bridge along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, reportedly killed 12 persons, and annihilated over 50 vehicles in the inferno. September 10, 2018, witnessed another horrific gas tanker explosion at a petrol station along the Lafia Makurdi Road in Nassarawa State, recording 35 fatalities and over 100 injured,” he added.
Adeosun argued that while it is impossible to eliminate petroleum products tanker incidents, it would, however, be prudent and responsive for the government to initiate new measures to mitigate the impact, especially for the innocent victims of these horrendous disasters.
Such measures, with humanitarian perspectives, will go beyond merely lamenting these incidents by taking steps to address the sufferings of the victims.
Proffering solutions, he recommended that the Federal Government should initiate a new recovery or compensation empowerment for innocent victims of tanker fires and explosions through insurance or any other system.
He argued that the existing compulsory Third Party Motor insurance is totally unrealistic for the scale of destruction visited on victims by these incidents. Therefore, support from state governments would be an option, but this also not adequate considering the plights of the already overburdened governments struggling to pay salaries.
Continuing, he urged the new RIMSON executive led by Raymond Akalonu, to liaise with appropriate industry stakeholders like the Nigeria Insurers Association (NIA), and government agencies to develop a new responsive insurance solution, sinking fund or other viable alternatives that will provide adequate care, recovery, and restoration for innocent victims of tanker disasters in Nigeria.
Akalonu, on his part, urged the government to immediately proffer solutions as a matter of urgency to stop tanker trucks killing people on Nigeria roads, using Lagos as a case study, where tankers are parked on the roads causing terrible traffic all-day long with an attendant toll on the people’s productivity.
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