The Ore Tanker Explosion

ONE  of the worst tragedies in recent times in Ondo State occurred on the night of July 25, 2023 when a  tanker fully loaded with Premium Motor Spirit, otherwise known as petrol exploded in  ore, in Odigbo Local Government area of the state.  The explosion in which about 20 people were reportedly burnt to death occurred when the fuel was ignited by a spark from a phone held by one of those  scooping fuel that spilled from the tanker. Many others were said to have secured varying degrees of injury from the inferno that followed.

        AN eyewitness account revealed that the tanker driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a ditch while its contents spilt into a nearby stream.

OF course, the unpleasant and very dangerous fuel truck accident attracted many residents of the city to the scene. According to eyewitness account, they invaded the scene with kegs and buckets to scoop fuel from the  tanker. Unfortunately, a woman was cooking in her kitchen when the inflammable product on the water caught fire, burning the woman to death, while the fire travelled back to the tanker and burnt  many of the residents scooping fuel from the tanker. Indeed, some have argued that greed on the part of the residents to benefit from the disaster and poverty ravaging the country motivated many people to partake in scooping fuel from the tanker not minding the consequences of their actions.

THE crash of a fully loaded petrol tanker signaled a serious orgy of events which the security agencies were supposed to respond quickly and reduce the severity of the destruction associated with the incident. This was not so in the case of Ore tanker explosion. For instance, the Nigerian Police and the Civil DefenceCorps’ personnel in conjunction with the emergency agency are supposed to cordon-off the area to prevent miscreants and members of the public from going near the potentially dangerous tanker both to protect the contents and the public from potential danger posed by the highly inflammable product in the tanker. The fire prevention agency was also supposed to be on ground to prevent and or put off the fire when they occurred.

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UNFORTUNATELY these organisations have failed in their duties to protect the public which made poverty ridden and greedy people to seek to take advantage of the seemingly free fuel to their peril and hence the preventable explosion that destroyed many lives and properties in the area.

In other words, response to the volatile incident was poor and not available and hence the explosion. Some of the fuel trunk accidents occurred because of the bad conditions of these vehicles and our roads and the poor handling of the vehicles by the drivers that are often not properly trained, and they seldom obey traffic regulations and road signs on the highways.

TO  forestall future occurrence and devastating experience like the Ore tanker explosion, there is the need for intensive and sustained education of member of the public on the inherent dangers associated with fuel tankers. People must know that it is very dangerous to stay close to fallen tanker not to talk of going near it to scoop its contents. Government must come up with emergency response plans that can always be activated when an accident such as the crash of petrol tanker and other emergencies that require intervention occurred. It is unacceptable for the government to be bemoaning loss of lives that it can prevent in the first instance.

THE  security agencies including fire prevention agencies must be alive to their responsibilities of protecting lives and property of the citizenry. If they have responded quickly, the crisis would not be up to the magnitude recorded.  There is also the need for comprehensive insurance cover to fuel tankers to reduce the pains associated with their accidents

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 Government needs to improve railway system in the country to take away from the road some of the tankers that are too many on our roads. Pipeline transport of fuel should be encouraged and promoted to reduce widespread fuel truck accidents in the country. To say the least, the avoidable deaths  is one too many in the country.

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