Population control or intentional carelessness | The Iju-Ishaga gas explosion sends too many messages

Safety on Nigerian roads has been a source of concern for many, especially with the rising number of avoidable accidents occurring on our roads.

On Thursday, September 24, 2020, there was a report of a tanker explosion at the Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos that claimed three lives and left 30 others injured. Several buildings and cars were also reported to have been damaged in the resulting inferno.

The ill-fated tanker was on its way to empty its content at a gas-plant when it exploded due to a broken seal and a burst tire according to reports.

A similar incident happened on Wednesday, September 23, 2020, in Kogi which claimed about 30 lives, leaving many injured and properties destroyed, and you wonder how long we are going to watch our fiends and family die or become homeless before the authorities prevent these accidents.

In 2018, there was a call on the Senate to proffer solution to the problem of fuel tanker explosions after an incident occurred on Otedola Link Bridge which left 12 people dead and dozens of vehicles destroyed.

The senate then acknowledged the need to create an alternative approach to haulage of petroleum products and the urgent need to enforce strict driving rules and roadworthiness of all vehicles on Nigerian roads.

Commendable as this may seem, we are yet to see concrete steps taken to curb the tragic incident of tanker explosions on our roads.

The increasing number of deaths caused by tanker explosion is becoming even more disturbing as we draw closer to the end of the year because the last quarter of every year is a period when many of such incidents are recorded.

Even more worrisome is the fact that most of these accidents would have been avoidable if proper road safety measures were adhered to. There is, therefore, a need for drivers to take extra care in their driving and obey safety rules.

Findings from one study indicate that the majority of avoidable fatal road accidents in Nigeria involve heavy-duty trucks, including petrol tankers.

The causes of the gas explosions from heavy-duty vehicles are linked to under-aged driving, the use of inferior quality fuel trucks by some oil distributors and carelessness on the part of some operators’. Other causes of tanker explosion include drunk driving, disregard for road safety rules, bad roads etc.

Hence, the need for road safety officials to insist on roadworthiness testing of all vehicles and the strict enforcement of safety rules on Nigerian roads. Drivers also need to be education and re-education on safety measures.

Adequate legislation must also be put in place to curb the excesses of reckless drivers and operators who are in the habit of patronising manufacturers of inferior quality petrol tankers. And adequate attention should be given to our bad road networks that need fixing.

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