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Rivers tanker explosion: Fubara expresses sadness at the gory sights

Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has expressed his sadness at the gory sights he saw when he visited the scene of the fire incident caused by a tanker conveying premium motor spirit (PMS), otherwise called petrol, which burnt motorists and commuters beyond recognition and destroyed a good number of vehicles.

 

Fubara was accompanied by the State Commissioner of Police, Olatunji Disu, and the State Commissioner for Energy and Natural Resources, Mr Uchechukwu Nwafor, on Saturday morning.

The incident occurred between Indorama Gate and Aleto Bridge on the popular and ever busy Eleme section of the East-West Road now undergoing major reconstruction by the Federal Government.

In a press statement issued by Nelson Chukwudi, the Chief Press Secretary, CPS, to the Governor, he said Fubara explained that he got a call from the Managing Director of Indorama Petrochemical and Fertiliser Company Limited in Eleme Local Government Area, informing him of the incident.

At the news of the incident, Governor Fubara stated that he immediately put a call to the security agencies and instructed that they visit the scene to take charge of the security of the area to avoid escalation of the situation.

Governor Fubara said: “We are here to see for ourselves and get a first-hand information of the incident of what happened yesterday (Friday) night.

“About 7.30 – 8pm, we got information of the gravity of the incident. I was told that it was caused by a tanker vehicle that was conveying Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).

“In fact, I got the information through the MD of Indorama, and I immediately alerted the security agencies to make sure they take control of the security situation in the area.

“And from what we are seeing this morning, it was not a pleasant case. We recorded a huge number of vehicles being destroyed and lives lost.

Fubara explained that he had already requested the relevant government agencies to provide him a detailed account of their findings to enable the State Government take appropriate decisions and actions to significantly remedy the situation and reduce the negative on the affected people.

“I have already asked the relevant agencies to give us a full brief so that we can come into the situation fully by seeing to how much we can support the families that are bereaved, and also cushion the effect of the loses, which I believe, is no fault of a good number of them.

“We all know the situation of this road. It is really unfortunate. Most of our people, when plying this road, should ply it with caution.

“I believe very strongly that this situation would have been avoidable, if the motorists had behaved properly. But it is late already. The damage has happened. This is the situation we have found ourselves. We will see how we can control the aftermath,” he added.

He said: “We are here to see for ourselves and get a first-hand information of the incidence of what happened yesterday.

“And from what we are seeing this morning, it was not a pleasant case. We recorded a huge number of vehicles being destroyed and lost.

“I have already asked the federal agencies to give us a full brief so that we can come into the situation fully by seeing to how much we can support the families that are bereaved, and how we can cushion the effect of the loses, which I believed is no fault of a good number of them.

“We all know the situation of this road. It is really unfortunate. Most of our people, when plying this road should ply it with caution.

“I believe very strongly that this situation would have been avoidable if the motorists have behaved properly.

“But it’s late. It has happened this is the situation we have found ourselves. We will see how we can control it.”

In the incident an unidentified number of persons were said to have been burnt to death, with cars also burnt.

The incident, which involved a tanker loaded with petroleum products, happened around 9:45 pm on Friday.

According to a source, two very loud sounds came from the petrochemical company with people shouting that a tanker had exploded and started raging.

The incident was reportedly caused by a petrol-laden tanker colliding with a heavy-duty truck, spilling its contents and bursting into flames, causing the petrol to spread over a long stretch of vehicles plying the Akpajo-Onne Road following the gridlock, which is a usual occurrence on the road due to ongoing construction.

An eyewitness says, “Some people inside their vehicles who tried to escape the fire were trapped in the fire and died.”

 

Another eyewitness says, “I was approaching Akpajo bridge when I saw a thick hold-up. While I and other drivers tried to move further, we saw people running and shouting fire, fire. So, it was difficult for me even to reverse my vehicle.

We meandered and parked somewhere. Only for us to come back and see that more than 100 vehicles were burnt.

There are people burnt in their vehicles and some people running were also caught in the inferno.”

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