President Muhammadu Buhari and Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, have expressed shock and sorrow over an accident involving a petrol tanker, which killed no fewer than 23 persons, including five students of Kogi State Polytechnic and three children.
The accident which occurred along Felele – Nataco axis of Abuja – Lokoja road involved five cars, one tanker, three tricycles and two motorcycles.
A man from Okene was said to have lost six children to the inferno, while a family of five was wiped out in the accident that some referred to as the worst in the year so far .
Also, pupils from the Baptist Academy , whose number had yet to be ascertained , were among those killed.
Also killed was a businessman , identified simply as Samson , alongside his wife and three children .
Samson was said that be dealing in sewing machines and wanted to drop off his children at school as had become his daily routine before opening his shop .
The 33 ,000- litre tanker , which was laden with Premium Motor Spirit and belonged to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation , was said to have suffered brake failure around 8 am and rammed into five cars, two motorcycles and three tricycles, killing all the occupants .
Reacting, Buhari in a statement by his Spokesman, Garba Shehu said that the death of 23 people “represents another disturbing and saddening incident in the litany of tragedies that have befallen our country.”
He said, “I am seriously worried about the frequency of these unfortunate and large scale tragedies in the country which cause needless deaths.”
“These frequent incidents that result in loss of lives and property are a national scandal caused by our indifference to safety standards.”
He explained that many accidents are preventable if proper proactive and precautionary measures are put in place or properly observed as routine policies.”
Buhari regretted that Nigeria is a country that moves on whenever tragedies occur instead of taking preventive safety measures to forestall future calamities.”
He, therefore, called on the county’s transport authorities, traffic and road management agencies as well as law enforcement officials to sit up and enforce safety standards with more seriousness, adding that “refusal to do the right thing can cause potential tragic problems that harm innocent people.”
“Nigeria is not having a shortage of laws and regulations, but our problem is lack of zeal to enforce those laws and regulations for the sake of public safety.”
He also condoled with Kogi State government and the families of the victims of the tragedy.
Meanwhile, Bello has expressed shock and sorrow over the incident.
Bello, in a statement issued immediately after the incident by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Onogwu Mohammed, said he was “very sad to learn of the tragic loss of lives, many vehicles, property and other valuables in the petrol tanker fire,” while expressing his deepest condolences to the families of those affected by the occurrence.
The governor said this is sadly the greatest tragedy the state has witnessed in recent times, while describing the accident as a sad development and shared the pains of those who lost their loves ones in this incident.
He urged students of Kogi State Polytechnic to remain calm and peaceful, stating that he equally shared in their grieving moment over the death of some of their colleagues.