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Officials, Eyewitnesses Disagree Over Cause Of Lagos Tanker Accident


milk tanker• Driver Lost Control, Says Officials
• Vehicle Was Being Towed By LASTMA Officials, Fireman, Witnesses Insist

BARELY three months after a heavy-duty container fell off the Ojuelegba Bridge in Lagos, killing three people, an oil tanker, yesterday, reportedly lost control on the bridge and ran into the median, spilling its content into a nearby canal and causing fire that destroyed properties in the area.

It was learnt that about five vehicles were burnt under the bridge and along some streets close to the canal, while a storey building was razed at Ajoke Dosunmu Street, in the neighbourhood.

The accident, The Guardian learnt, occurred at about 2 a.m. on the bridge, after which the content of the tanker spilled and ran from the Police Barracks in Surulere to Alaka area. But it was not until 4 a.m. that two explosions along the canal caused a fire that spread back to the tanker on the bridge, which exploded.

A Fireman with the State Fire Service, who didn’t want his name in print, said that the incident was caused by Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA) officials, who were towing the heavy-laden oil tanker on the bridge.

He said that the chain with which they dragged the vehicle broke and the vehicle crashed on the median, causing the spill, noting that they had to respond immediately to forestall further damage.

The State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, said all relevant emergency response agencies and resources had been deployed to the scene of the accident, and some Fire Service vehicles were deployed from the governor’s office.

“Some of us have been here since 3 a.m. We have tried to mitigate the extent of the loss. We have cleared the service lane and directed traffic to the lane.”

The State Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr. Seye Oladejo, said the tanker, which was carrying 33,000 litres of fuel, ran out of control on the bridge, cautioning drivers to be more careful on the road, especially during the festive season.

The Managing Director of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Mr. Michael Akindele, said the response time was immediate, noting that the error did not occur on the scene of the incident, but from a far distance.

He said, “Like we have always said, the attitude of tanker and container drivers in Nigeria calls for concern. Why do we put bad vehicles on the roads? We thank God for the directive of the State Police and the Lagos State Government that the tankers shouldn’t move during the day.

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