The Incessant Oil Tankers’ Mishaps | Independent Newspapers Limited
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The Incessant Oil Tankers’ Mishaps

Posted: Jun 12, 2015 at 3:30 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The spate of oil tanker fire incidences accross the country in recent times quite worrisome. Given the quantum of loss of human lives and material resources, there is definitely an urgent need for government to forestall future occurrences.

Just last week alone, there were three unfortunate petrol tanker fire incidents. First, it was at Onitsha International Market area, in Anambra State, where more than 55 people were reportedly burnt beyond recognition, just less than four months after a similar incident happened in the same city. Then on June 2, another Petrol tanker fire mishap at the Iyana Ipaja area of Lagos State claimed 40 shops, including property estimated at over N20 million. Few days later about 34 houses and 70 shops were destroyed at Idimu area also in Lagos, due to a tanker fire incident.  Earlier in March 2014, a petrol tanker allegedly caused a fire accident while trying to negotiate a bend at a Mobile filling station in Ikeja, Lagos.

There is no doubt that oil tanker disasters could be linked to carelessness on the part of the traffic regulation authorities like the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), who fail to enforce safety guidelines and ensure that only vehicles that are road worthy ply our roads. But, recklessness on the part of the tanker drivers is also a major factor.

It is noteworthy that Governor Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State has set up a 12-member committee to uncover the immediate and remote causes of the incessant tanker incidents in the state. But it is important to note that one of the factors for some of these tanker mishaps is invariably the poor state of most roads across the country. Indeed there have been several instances when heavy trucks and petrol tankers reportedly fell on the deplorable Oshodi- Apapa expressway in Lagos statefor example. Perhaps, a well-structured road network with designated roads and lanes for heavy vehicles is quite appropriate at this point in time. This is because these tanker drivers are often seen struggling and intimidating other roads users, which sometimes result in avoidable accidents.

Beyond this, the current development should serve as a wake-up call for government to revamp the railway transport system in the country. This should be the most appropriate and safer means of transporting petroleum products across the country in the absence of well-planned pipeline and road networks.