It was another gory day today in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State, as an accident involving a petrol tanker caused many deaths and wreaked widespread destruction.
An eyewitness told Saharareporters that a fully loaded petrol tanker, with registration number XA831GRM, rammed into an electricity transformer as the driver attempted to avoid hitting a commuter bus that suddenly swerved onto the tanker’s path. “The bad condition of the federal road crash was responsible for this accident,” said the source.
As the tanker struck the transformer, sparks went off, then immediately ignited a fire that consumed everything in the vicinity.
A police source could not say the exact number of deaths, but said the victims included a nursing mother with her child, some nearby bystanders and other drivers along the road. Properties worth millions of naira were burnt and the accident caused heavy traffic around Ojo/Iwo Express Road.
The tragic event further exposed the weakness of Nigeria’s emergency and disaster management as no rescue team or fire service arrived at the scene until about an hour later. As at the time of filing this report, the fire had spread widely, with the ill-equipped fire service arriving belatedly.
Our police source agreed that today’s disaster owed to the bad road as well as the indiscipline of road users. Road signs are absent from virtually all roads in Nigeria and drivers make u-turns anywhere on the highway.
A road safety consultant in Abuja also blamed the police who prefer to collect twenty naira bribes instead of enforcing traffic law. “In order to avert the kind of disaster that happened in Ibadan today, we must pay attention to road development and maintenance, proper training and testing of drivers, and the strict enforcement of traffic laws,” said the consultant.
The neglect of Nigerian roads and other infrastructure reached a critical stage during the Olusegun Obasanjo administration, and the Umaru Yar’Adua/ Goodluck Jonathan administrations have not done much to address the dilapidated state of roads in Nigeria. Former Works Minister Tony Anenih, who never accounted for more than N300 billion for road construction and repairs in Nigeria, is currently a close adviser to the Jonathan administration.