A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

Festac vehicular traffic remains nightmarish after oil tanker explosion

*Festac-Amuwo fuel tanker fire.

OpeOluwani Akintayo

23 December 2017, Sweetcrude, Lagos — Vehicular traffic remains a drag over one week after a 33,000 liters of diesel capacity tanker lost its brakes, rolled back, fell-off the Festac – Amuwo Odofin link bridge and exploded.

When SweetcrudeReports visited the site, although shock of the explosion had waned, and the black dust from burnt cars had been washed away by the recent rain, the part of the bridge affected by the fire had this time around, been cordoned off with corvette concrete blocks, restricting movement of vehicles to just one side of the bridge.

As at last week Thursday, that same side which was at first blocked by the police red and white tape, was later reopened as a result of strain on vehicle movement.

The explosion which happened around 11 am last week Wednesday had burnt 26 vehicles, both private and commercial, including those displayed for sale by auto dealer, Chief Chinedu Nwogwo.

Also, around 70 sets of bags were lost in the fire, including furniture and artworks allegedly worth millions of naira.

An estimation by SweetcrudeReports had put total loss as a result of the fire at over N50 million.

Yesterday, vehicular traffic struggled through the narrow path originally meant for vehicles going into Festace, further worsening movements.

However, bike riders and pedestrians had free access to the cordoned lane.

Although SweetcrudeReports could not immediately get the chairman, Amuwo Odofin local government, Valentine Buraimoh for an official statement as at the time of filing this report, however, passersby, including staff of the LGA who spoke, hinted that the affected side of the bridge was closed on the instruction of the Lagos state government.

According to them, the LGA had been advised by road contractors to stop the movement of vehicles on the affected side to avert sudden collapse.

However, as at last week Thursday when SweetcrudeReports visited the scene, road construction engineers on the ground had argued that the bridge would not collapse anytime soon.

According to them, it would take another 10 years before such sudden collapse, citing high-quality materials used for the construction of the bridge hence, they saw no need to put residents and visitors of the estate being restricted to the use of one lane of the bridge.

Although a few superficial cracks were observed underneath the bridge, however, SweetcrudeReports could not ascertain whether it was as a result of the fire which had also turned the bottom of the bridge black, or the cracks had been there before the fire.

How it all happened
The tanker carrying 33,000 litres of diesel had tumbled to the ground after failed attempts by the driver to climb the Festac bridge on his way to deliver the product to MRS petrol station not too far from the point where the accident occurred.

When SweetcrudeReports visited the scene, traces of diesel that sipped out from the fallen tanker was seen floating on the canal just under the bridge.

According to information gathered from eyewitnesses, the tanker while trying to ascend the bridge had lost its brake, resulting in the tanker drifting backward, and hitting a commercial bus right behind him before eventually tumbling-off.

Within five minutes after it tumbled, witnesses said policemen from the Festac station were quickly deployed to the scene to control traffic, however, as the commercial driver who was right behind the tanker ignited his engine to leave the scene, fire from the ignition caught the diesel, resulting in an immediate explosion.

As at Thursday evening, the fire had destroyed 26 cars including the bus directly behind the tanker. Although no life was lost, however, few people were reportedly injured.

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