Three people were killed and eight others injured in a tanker explosion that occurred along the Suleja- Kaduna Expressway, Niger State, recently.
According to eyewitness reports, 19 vehicles and 35 shops were also gutted by the fire. Many of the victims were said to be traders plying their trade on both sides of the road while some of the burnt vehicles were said to have been held in traffic gridlock.
Reports further suggest that the tanker driver was trying to make a sharp bend on the highway when he lost control of the steering wheel. As a result, the tanker overturned, spilling petrol on the road and causing an explosion. A stampede followed, which left many injured.
Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmed Inga, the Director General, Niger State Emergency Management Agency, has confirmed the death toll to be one, contrary to claims that three people died. Also, the number of injured persons could not be ascertained as at the time of filing this report because many were injured during the stampede which occurred while people ran to safety.
“We received a report from our Suleja desk officer that there was a tanker explosion and many people were affected.
“We cannot give the actual number of people that lost their lives. We will confirm that during our assessment; but from the report of our Suleja desk officer, one person has been confirmed dead as a result of the incident.
“Many people were injured and several vehicles were completely burnt,” Inga said.
He also explained that firefighters from the State Fire Service were able to bring the fire under control around 4:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, adding that the corpse of the deceased person had been deposited at the morgue in Umaru Musa Hospital, Sabon Wuse, while the injured were receiving treatment at the same facility for several degrees of burns.