…calls stakeholders meeting to address menace of tanker drivers
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, on Saturday visited the scene of a petrol tanker loaded with 33,000 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), which fell on the road and spilled its contents at Idimu area of the state, promising to provide immediate succor for victims whose houses and shops were razed by the ensuing fire.
The Governor, accompanied by his Deputy, Mrs. Oluranti Adebule, went round the scene to ascertain the extent of damage just as he commiserated with traders and residents who had lost their means of livelihood and the places of abode.
Addressing journalists shortly after being conducted round the scene by emergency response officers, Governor Ambode expressed concerns over the spate of fallen petrol tankers in the state, especially with Saturday’s incident coming just few days after a similar one in Iyana Ipaja area which left several shops and vehicles destroyed in its wake.
“This is another unfortunate incident happening within one week. Unfortunate, in the sense that we are beginning to lose a lot of our assets and property to fire. I have been briefed that there were two tanker drivers actually competing on the road as at midnight including a commercial bus driver. As a result, the tanker driver lost control at the bend and it was 33,000litres of PMS and at a bend, in a sloppy area, you could see the contents went as far as five streets. We’ve lost close to 34 houses, 70 shops” the Governor said in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Habib Aruna.
Stressing that the menace posed by the recklessness of tanker drivers could no longer be tolerated, the Governor said a meeting will be convened with the union regulating the activities of the tanker drivers and other concerned bodies on Monday, just as he added that the traffic law of the state will henceforth be enforced as it concerns their operations.
“We do not want this to repeat itself again. We have said it before, we need to address our tanker drivers and start to enforce our traffic laws. I have directed that the union of tanker drivers and the government would meet on Monday morning and we must make pronouncement relating to the usage of our roads”, he said.
Moved by the pleas of some residents who lost their properties to the inferno, the Governor directed the state emergency management agency, LASEMA, to collate the names of victims so as to provide immediate relief to cushion their pain.
“I commiserate with all the people here. I appeal for calm. We would do immediate relief; we would take enumeration and see in what ways we can address your pain. We would do everything in our power to do everything to help them get back to their normal lives,” the Governor said.
Giving an account of how the incident occurred, the Director of the Lagos State Fire Service, Mr. Rasak Fadipe said his men responded to a distress call at about 12:08am on Saturday and a prompt response by the rescue officers with the aid of the community helped to quell the fire from spreading.
“The effort we put in saved the MRS fuel station from being engulfed by fire and we have as well saved several buildings here. But this fire has consumed a lot of fire fighting materials that could have been used to put out about 15 to 20 fire outbreaks. As the governor said, something has to be done to this type of incidents,” Fadipe said.
On his part, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Operations, Babatunde Kokumo, pledged the support of the Police Force to address the situation.
“We want to see that sanity is returned unto our road, particularly sanity among our tanker drivers, tipper drivers and generally among all users of roads in Lagos. The government is doing so much for us and we must as a matter of seriousness reciprocate all these by ensuring that we instill sanity”.
CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY
JUNE 6, 2015.