TANKER EXPLODES AT TAFA

3 Killed in In­ferno 15 Oth­ers Sus­tain In­juries 17 Houses, 12 Shops De­stroyed

Sunday Trust - - FRONT PAGE - From Adam Umar (Suleja) & An­drew Agbese (Kaduna)

Three per­sons died yes­ter­day while 15 oth­ers sus­tained in­juries when a tanker loaded with petroleum lost con­trol at Tafa, along the Abuja-Kaduna ex­press­way and crashed. Tafa, which is about 40-minute drive from Abuja city cen­tre, is lo­cated in Ka­garko Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Area of Kaduna State.

It was gath­ered that 17 houses and sev­eral fuel tankers parked along the high­way in Tafa vil­lage were burnt in the in­ci­dent.

Wit­nesses said the ill-fated tanker bear­ing, Shema Petroleum Ltd, was ap­proach­ing Abuja from Kaduna, when it tried to avoid col­lid­ing with an on­com­ing car and crashed.

They said by the time the driver of the ve­hi­cle was able to re­gain con­trol of the tanker and park it by the side of the road, it had been dam­aged and was se­ri­ously leak­ing fuel.

Youths in the area, it was learnt, came in droves and started scoop­ing fuel from the tanker.

Most of the peo­ple who sus­tained in­juries were said to be scoop­ing petroleum from the tanker when a fire started.

About 12 shops at­tached to a nearby brothel and a num­ber of makeshift con­tain­ers were also de­stroyed, res­i­dents said. The fire raged for about two hours be­fore it was put out by men of the fire ser­vice, our re­porter gath­ered.

Res­i­dents gave the names of two of the peo­ple who died in the in­ci­dent sim­ply as Hadiza Mai Tuwo and Bala Tela. The third per­son was yet to be iden­ti­fied at the time this re­port was filed.

Daily Trust on Sun­day gath­ered that the in­jured per­sons were taken to the Umaru Musa Yar’adua Hospi­tal in Sabo Wuse and the Suleja Gen­eral Hospi­tal, while those in crit­i­cal con­di­tion were taken to the Abuja Uni­ver­sity Teach­ing Hospi­tal in Gwag­wal­ada.

The Di­vi­sional Po­lice Of­fi­cer (DPO) in Tafa, CSP Faruk Umar, re­fused to com­ment on the in­ci­dent when our re­porter vis­ited around 5pm, in­sist­ing that only the spokesper­son of the Kaduna State Po­lice Com­mand was au­tho­rized to brief the press on the in­ci­dent.

The DPO said the state po­lice com­mis­sioner had vis­ited the scene shortly af­ter the in­ci­dent, charg­ing him to sub­mit a re­port as quickly as pos­si­ble.

The Tafa axis of the Kaduna-Abuja ex­press­way way has been a ma­jor source of con­cern to com­muters who com­plain over the man­ner driv­ers park fuel-laden tankers by the road­side.

Prom­ises by suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments in Kaduna State to build a trailer park for tankers and other ar­tic­u­lated ve­hi­cles at the area, driv­ers use for stopovers, were not ful­filled.

The present ad­min­is­tra­tion in the state, how­ever, re­cently re­sumed con­struc­tion work at the park.

Some of the driv­ers who spoke to our re­porter lamented the sit­u­a­tion, urg­ing gov­ern­ment to con­clude work at the park so that they could stop park­ing their ve­hi­cles by the road­side.

Ear­lier yes­ter­day, the spokesper­son of the Na­tional Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency ( NEMA), Yushau Shuaib, said a mosque was also de­stroyed in the in­ci­dent but that there was no loss of life.

He said res­cue work­ers were quickly mo­bilised to the scene to evac­u­ate res­i­dents from the rag­ing in­ferno.

“The ac­ci­dent was caused by the tanker driver’s at­tempt to es­cape a head on col­li­sion with the Golf car. He also tried to avoid the nu­mer­ous tankers parked by the road­side.

“He, there­fore, lost con­trol and skid­ded off the road and fell down, spilling petrol which led to a fire out­break,” he told the on­line news­pa­per Pre­mium Times.

Daily Trust on Sun­day gath­ered that one of the lanes of the ex­press­way was closed to traf­fic fol­low­ing the in­ci­dent.

Kaduna State po­lice spokesper­son, ASP Mukhtar Hus­sain Aliyu, who con­firmed the in­ci­dent, said it was while the youths in the area gath­ered to scoop fuel from the tank that the ex­plo­sion oc­curred.

He added that some of the youths had de­posited their con­tain­ers with a food ven­dor by the road­side.

“The fuel spilled to the food ven­dor and that ig­nited the fire,” he said.

He said the po­lice with other agen­cies of gov­ern­ment were able to put out the fire, adding that the sit­u­a­tion had been brought un­der con­trol.

PHOTO: Adam Umar

Burnt shops af­ter the con­tent of a crashed petrol tanker caught fire at Tafa, along the Abuja-Kaduna Ex­press­way yes­ter­day

PHOTO: Adam Umar

The ill-fated tanker

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