ONITSHA – Residents of Onitsha, the commercial hub of Anambra State on Tuesday January 28, 2020 were thrown into panic as yet another petrol tanker ladened with petroleum products fell at Upper Iweka, the busiest and the most crowded area in Onitsha city centre. Having been aware of the disaster that usually accompanied such incident, many people were seen running helter-skelter to keep away from the spot just before it could explode.
It is barely four months that heavy casualties were recorded at Upper-Iweka in last October of 2019 at the same spot in Upper-Iweka when a petrol tanker fell into the gutter and burst into flames leaving many people dead and countless others injured with many businesses razed to the ground that same incident happened again on Tuesday 28:01:20 at around 3:45pm.
Both ends of the major lane where the petrol tanker fell was cordoned off with heavy blockade by men of the Nigerian police force who were at the venue when our correspondence got there to protect the fire fighters and the driver of the truck as well as to maintain law and order. This caused heavy traffic since both the adjacent lanes at the opposite direction were sealed off leaving only the service lane to be accessible by motorists.
Many news agencies and various correspondences were also at the venue and were taking pictures and videos of the incident whereas the members of Anambra Fire Service were standing by and were ready for any eventuality of fire outbreak as a result of probable explosion.
Unlike the previous one that took place in October of last year, the fire fighters then were nowhere to be found until the disaster had wreaked havoc leaving many businesses destroyed before they came only to be pelted with stones and other objects by angry mob. But this time around it appears they have learnt their lessons and have taken some proactive measure to act before a disaster occurs.
Nevertheless, the protection of lives and properties of the citizenry especially the tax payers is the sole responsibility of the government who must as a matter of urgency create an avenue to put a permanent stop to this incessant petrol tanker mishap by either banning all the petrol tanker and lorry drivers from using the major roads especially during the day time or to build a separate lane for them if they must operate during the day time across the crowded city centres in Biafra land, this is because in recent times, many lives and businesses has been destroyed in the Southeastern part of the country as a result of fire outbreak which usually by caused by petrol tanker explosion in most cases, in crowded areas such as Upper-Iweka and near market places across the Southeast of the country.
Chibuike John Nebeokike
For: Radio Biafra Media