John Adams, Minna
An accident involving a tanker loaded with 36,000 liters of PMS and a trailer on Sunday night resulting in an explosion, left many houses, shops and vehicles reduced to ashes in Lambata, Gawu Babangida local government of Niger state.
The Petroleum tanker and the trailer were said to have collided at a sharp bend in the highly populated and ever busy Lambata town at about 11:30pm when most residence have retired to their houses.
Cars motorcycles and other property worth a millions of Naira were destroyed by the inferno which eye witnesses said lasted for several hours due absence of fire fighting vehicles as spirited efforts by the locals could not yield any result.
Eye witnesses however said fire fighters from Suleja town about 30 minutes drive later arrived at the scene but not until enormous damages have been done by the tanker fire.
Although as the time of filing this reports 10:00am Monday, details of casualties were still very sketchy, an eye witnesses who spoke to our correspondent said many may have died in their houses “because the incident occurred when people were already sleeping in their houses”.
This is the second major accident involving petroleum tanker in the state in the last six months with attendant lost Of lives and property.
It could be recalled that a fuel tanker accident had in February this year claimed the lives of no fewer than eight people while several others sustained various degree of injuries in Kutigi town in Lavun local government area of Niger state.
The two fuel tankers involved in the accident were said to be traveling in opposite direction when they had a head on collusion some few meters from Kutigi town.
This latest accident is coming barely one week to the deadline announced by the state government for closure of Minna-Bida highway due to the activities of tankers, trailers and other articulated vehicles which has made the construction work on the road a Herculean task for construction company handling the job.
An official of the the Federal Road Service Corps (FRSC) who spoke to our correspondent but did not want to be quoted pending an official pronouncements, attributed the cause of the crash to loss of control by the vehicles “and again because it was in the night”.
“The number of people involved as for the casualties is yet to be ascertained, so also the number of houses burnt and other property is yet to be ascertained”.
He pointed out that People are still counting their losses as “we try to control the traffic and the fire service are working to put off fire in some places that are still burning”.