The Senate on Wednesday called on the Nigeria Police Force and the Federal Road Safety Corps to investigate the circumstances surrounding the explosion of a tanker-laden with premium motor spirit (petrol) in Lagos last week.
The Upper Chamber of the National Assembly also resolved to meet with the FRSC and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to seek amendment to the extant laws needed to prevent accidents involving articulated vehicles.
The resolution was based on a motion moved at the plenary on Wednesday by Senator Gbenga Ashafa (Lagos-East) in conjunction with Senators Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos-Central) and Solomon Adeola (Lagos-West).
A tanker carrying 33,000 litres of petrol had crashed, spilled its content and exploded on Otedola Bridge along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway last Thursday. Twelve persons were confirmed dead while over 50 vehicles were burnt.
Granting the prayers of the motion, the lawmakers resolved to, “Urge the FRSC, the Nigeria Police and all relevant security agencies to cooperate with Lagos State and other states in ensuring that drivers of articulated vehicles comply with all federal and state traffic safety laws.
“Urge the Nigeria Police Force to work in conjunction with the FRSC to carry out a thorough investigation of the circumstances leading to the accident that led to the fuel tanker fire, with the view to prosecuting anyone found culpable in this preventable fire incident.
“The relevant committees of the Senate should invite the FRSC and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation with a view to finding a legislative solution towards ensuring that before trucks are loaded, mandatory safety checks are put in place to ascertain the condition of the tankers and the road-worthiness of the vehicles.”
The Senate further urged the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing and state governments “to accelerate the development of trailer parks and installation of weigh bridges to manage trailer movement on roads.”
Moving the motion, Ashafa said the Senate noted “with great sadness” the “unfortunate” petrol tanker fire that had become regular on roads in the country.
He added, “The Senate further observes that on Friday, June 29, 2018, it was reported that an explosion occurred after a fuel tanker collided with a trailer along the Minna-Suleja Road in Niger State. The Senate recalls that on the 19th of June, 2018, at about 9pm during the rush-hour traffic on the Ojuelegba Bridge, a portion of the popular Ikorodu Road, another articulated vehicle carrying a container load of woods tilted and fell off the bridge, killing two persons and injuring two persons, as reported by a newspaper.
“The Senate further recalls that in June of 2015, I brought a motion on similar incidents which were moved by myself and other colleagues in the upper chamber. We had similarly examined the issues surrounding four tanker incidents that occurred in Nigeria’s two major cities, claiming lives and destroying property. These include the unfortunate tanker fire which occurred in the Upper Iweka area of Onitsha in Anambra State, claiming a whooping 70 lives.”
Seconding the motion, Tinubu said, “What happened in Lagos last week was a very sad incident.”
She said it was high time the Senate took a look at trailer parks “we’ve been advocating for, for many years.”
She said, “This is the time we need it more than ever. I’m calling on well-meaning Nigerians who have the resources to do it.”
The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, said, “It is very unfortunate but I think it is something that could be prevented if we all abide by the guidelines and ensure enforcement of laws that exist. This is a lesson; we need to learn from this, that those agencies in charge of ensuring safety of tanker movement across the country must ensure compliance to ensure the drivers have adequate licences, that the vehicles have adequate certification showing that they are in good condition to ply the road.”