Reasons why I risked my life - Delta tanker driver


The driver of the petroleum truck which exploded at Agbarho town, Ughelli North Local Government Area, Mr Ejiro Otarigho, has said that he felt a high sense of fulfilment in risking his life to avert the disaster that would have claimed lives of residents and destroyed properties in the area.

Speaking on the incident which occurred at about 7 pm on Saturday, Otarigho, an indigene of the community who got married two months ago, said he was driving from a filling station where he had deposited some petrol when his “boy” alerted him of the fire that was coming out of the truck.

He said: “The fire started around the water board just before the Town Hall when coming from Okan.

“The boy only just started working with me a few months back and when he told me about the fire, l felt it was a little child’s talk.

“lt then occurred to me to stretch out and look back and it was then that l noticed the raging inferno. Instantly, l told the boy to jump down which he did.

“The first thing that l told myself was ‘Ejiro, don’t stop; if you stop this truck, there will be disaster; people will die and properties will destroy; Let it be between me and the truck; Take this truck straight to Agbarho River at the expressway’. That was when l started to speed towards the bank of the river and the fire was burning as l was going.

“At that time, it was getting dark; the time was past 7 pm and people were shouting. It took me about 20 minutes to get to the safe place. At the end, l was able to pull the truck to the side of the river where it got consumed in the inferno.”

On whether he was actually prepared to risk his life, he said “If l was not prepared to risk my life, l would have left the vehicle at the point the fire started.”

On how he felt about his family, he said: “At that time, with the situation on ground, the only thing that was on my mind was how l can save lives. Now, l feel very fulfilled because at the end, l didn’t die and nobody died.”

Meanwhile the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly and governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori has lauded the courage of Mr. Ejiro Otarigho for averting the disaster.

Describing the truck driver as “a hero of our time”, Oborevwori in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Dennis Otu, noted that watching the burning Petroleum truck being driven out of the highly populated area by the heroic driver was like a scene from a movie.

The statement read: “I want to express my gratitude to the brave Petroleum truck driver, Mr Ejiro Otarigho for his courage that saved many lives and property on Saturday in Agbarho.

“I am highly impressed with the bold step he took to avert a major disaster on that day. He is a hero of our time. The brave Petroleum truck driver who was just two months into his marriage never thought about his personal life, that of his young wife and that of his parents and siblings. His patriotism and rare courage must be commended.

“He has shown a very good example to our young Deltans and it should be emulated. As a Pan Deltan and a great unifier, I salute Mr Ejiro Otarigho for not throwing our State into mourning. Am really proud of him”.

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