The Lagos State government has announced some findings made after a preliminary investigation into the tanker explosion which occurred last week in the state.
The tragic tanker explosion occurred on Thursday, on Otedola Bridge inward Ojodu Berger along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, leaving many dead and properties destroyed.
The State Commissioner for Transportation, Ladi Lawanson, told journalists after a meeting with relevant stakeholders alongside heads of government agencies that the preliminary investigation revealed that the tanker which exploded was registered in Nasarawa Local Government and Kano State.
The tanker had registration number NSR 888 YC, and had changed ownership 13 times since purchase.
“It (the tanker) was manufactured in 1999 by Mack Trucks Inc at its assembly plant in Winnsboro, United States. This truck was designed as a 14,959kg (approximately 15 ton) drilling rig with a low bed, but it was converted in Nigeria from a drilling rig to fuel tank carrier to carry 30 tonnes.
“From this preliminary investigation, the truck should not have been loaded to the weight of 30 tonnes, which is twice its pulling capacity,” the Commissioner said, adding that further investigation into the current ownership of the tanker and other related details were progressing.
In reaction to suggestions of restriction of operation of tankers to certain hours, the Commissioner said having critically examined the issue especially considering the fact that imported petroleum products are pumped from import jetties at Atlas Cove through pipelines to Ejigbo Depots in Lagos, Mosimi (Ogun), Ibadan (Oyo), Ilorin (Kwara) and Ore (Ondo), and due to pipeline vandalism, any restriction of such would undermine supplies and threaten the well-being of the Nigerian economy since there is high demand for petroleum products across the country.
He, however, disclosed that the State Government was already exploring alternative modes of transportation of petroleum products to separate passenger traffic from cargo movements within the metropolis in the interest of the public safety and order.
The Lagos state government, in partnership with all the stakeholders, would set up joint-enforcement of the operating laws, while barriers would be installed on bridges in Lagos to prevent articulated trucks including Ojuelegba, Mobolaji Bank Anthony, Ekodeso, Abule-Egba, Lekki-Ajah, among others.
Giving an update on the accident, the Commissioner for Special Duties and Intergovernmental Relations, Seye Oladejo said out of the four injured persons that were taken away from the scene, one unfortunately died but the government is taking responsibility for the treatment of others.
He denied allegations that some victims were rejected by the General Hospital in Surulere, saying that the victims were only taken to LASUTH, Ikeja and Burns and Trauma Centre in Gbagada.
“When you have such incident of that magnitude, as part of our training as emergency responders, we need to be very careful the way we handle our communication so that we don’t raise unnecessary alarm. It is important for members of the public to remain calm while we get all our acts together, otherwise, we would also be asking for another emergency.
“Altogether, nine people passed on at the incident and they were all burnt beyond recognition. We have set up a helpline at LASEMA to try and open a communication channel with members of the public and with family members of the victims. It is important that DNA is conducted otherwise we would end up giving the wrong bodies to some families to go and inter and that would become another issue entirely.
“This kind of situation really calls for patience and understanding on the part of members of the public and most especially families of the victim. As much as we sympathize and commiserate, things still have to be done professionally. As a government, we are alive to our responsibility and the major business we have is to ensure the safety of lives and property and we are committed to that. We have signed up on that, you are also aware of the massive investment of the State Government on issues bothering on emergency and response,” Oladejo said.
The Commissioner also dismissed allegations that the integrity of Otedola Bridge had been compromised following the incident, saying there was no iota of truth in such, while the government would soon fix the damaged section of the road.