By Benson Michael
The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, says it will prosecute the drivers of articulated vehicles involved in accidents in the early hours of Thursday to serve as deterrent to other reckless drivers.
The Agency and other emergency responders, including its national counterpart, NEMA, the Police, Lagos Fire Service, FRSC and the Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corps responded swiftly and successful evacuated trailers and tankers involved in accidents in different locations in the State, with the two most severe of the accidents at Kirikiri in Apapa and Toyota bus stop inward Mile 2, on Oshodi-Apapa Expressway.
Addressing newsmen at the scene of the Toyota bus stop tanker accident in the evening, LASEMA’s Director-General, Dr Fẹmi Oke-Osanyitolu said it took many hours for emergency responders to successfully dampen the fire caused by the tanker which discharged its entire 44,000 litres of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, on the road after crashing into another tanker at about 9 o’clock in the morning.
At some few minutes to 6 o’clock in the evening, the PMS from the tanker was still gushing on the road with men of LASEMA’s Rapid Unit diluting it with chemical to prevent further fire outbreak.
Dr Oke-Osanyitolu stated that though no life was lost in all the incidents, but the reckless drivers must face the wrath of the law.
“This morning, we handled four cases of trailer overturning, we will not tolerate that in Lagos State again, we are going to prosecute all of them ” Oke-Osanyitolu warned.
Although the carcass of the tanker has been taken off the road, the LASEMA DG announced that integrity test would be conducted on the Apakun-Isolo bridge linking the Airport from Apapa – Oshodi expressway, which was badly affected by the fire as well as the newly constructed road and divider which the tanker fire damaged.
Confirming the closure of the Bridge to traffic in the time being, the Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Mr Hakeem Odumosu who led his men to ensure crowd control and prevent people from scooping the PMS said the road on which the accident occurred would also remain closed.
CP Odumosu also used the occasion to caution residents who are in the habit of trooping to accident scenes to record with their phones, thereby hampering emergency responders to desist.
“Once there’s emergency, any person there should immediately notify, we have the 767 number and all the police numbers out there, if not because of the quick response that we have here, we would have been picking dead bodies because of the velocity of PMS, once emergency happens, we want people who are not professionals to keep off, that’s the least cooperation that we want from them” CP Odumosu advised.
Some of the eyewitnesses at the scene who are in support of the closure of the bridge and road, confirmed the recklessness of the tanker driver and also want the State government to boost the capacity of the fire service.
The Oshodi-Apapa road inward Mile 2 was gridlocked for close to 9 hours while the emergency responders were busy with the operation.