Commuters and motorists plying Ikorodu Road, Lagos, experienced hardship on Monday as a petrol-laden tanker rammed into the Bus Rapid Transit lane at the Ojota end of the road.
The accident which happened at midnight caused gridlock which stretched several kilometres. It also caused apprehension among motorists and road users who feared that the spilled content of the tanker could cause an explosion.
It was gathered that the driver of the tanker with the inscription Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation and his assistant fled the scene as soon as the incident occurred.
A resident of the area, Darlington Madubuike, said the accident happened at about 12:05am.
He said, “I heard a loud bang from my house which is some metres away from the expressway and I rushed out to catch a glimpse of what happened.
“I saw driver and his assistant running towards Ketu. Some people who rushed to the scene started making calls to emergency officials to come to the scene and prevent the situation from being chaotic.”
When our correspondent got to the scene, men of the Lagos State Fire Service were seen applying fire retardants substances to the scene of the accident where petrol had spilled over to.
Also, men of the Nigeria Police, Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Lagos State Emergency Management Authority and Lagos State Traffic Management Authority were on the ground to manage the traffic. They also put up diversions to prevent fire outbreak.
A senior LASTMA official at the scene, Ogunnoiki Muyiwa, said the driver of the tanker with Taraba State registration number XB 48 JAL might have lost control before ramming the trailer into the BRT lane.
He said, “We got to the scene around 5am and the driver and the occupant had disappeared. Besides, nobody was available to give us the exact account of what happened.
“What we noticed was that the tanker carrying petrol fell on the road. We immediately contacted the officials of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers who helped to transfer the petrol in the fallen tanker into another one.”
A trader in the area, Benson Itoyah, said some people attempted to scoop fuel at the scene.
He said, “I got to my shop some minutes to 7am and I was surprised to see scores of people with kegs in their hands close to the scene.
“They were however unable to scoop fuel because the police and other security officials cordoned off the place.”
The BRT lane at that section of the road was closed until 12:51pm when the tanker was towed away by the officials of LASTMA.
Commercial bus operators cashed in on the gridlock and hiked their fares. For instance, from Anthony to Ojota transport fare increased from N50 to N100.