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8 die, 20 injured in petroleum tanker fire in Niger

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Eight persons have been confirmed dead in a fire disaster resulting from an accident involving a petroleum tanker and two Toyota cars in Birni Maza, along Lapai – Lambata – Abuja road in Niger State.

Sunday Tribune gathered that the accident occurred on Friday night at a spot about 20 kilometres to Lapai, when the liquid content of the tanker, said to be Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, being transported to a yet-to-be-identified filling station in the area, spilled.

It was further gathered that the two Toyota cars following the tanker along the failed portion of the road caught fire when a part of one of the cars scratched a hard surface, thereby igniting fire.

Further checks revealed that all the six occupants of the Toyota cars, including the drivers, died on the spot, while some of the villagers who came on rescue mission also sustained varying degrees of injury.

It was further learnt that the driver of the tanker and his mate as well as no fewer than 18 villagers who sustained high degrees of injury were rushed to the Federal Medical Centre, Bida, and a local hospital in Lapai. However, two of them later died Saturday morning.

Confirming the incident to Sunday Tribune on Saturday in Minna, the state capital, the Director-General, Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA), Mallam Mohammed Shaba, said eight deaths had already been recorded, while about 20 other people sustained different degrees of injury.

He stated further that those who died at the scene of the accident were burnt beyond recognition, a development that prompted their being committed to Mother Earth at the spot, while those who sustained injuries were taken for treatments in hospitals in Bida, Minna and Lapai.

“As I am talking to you now, I am on my way from Lapai to Bida, where some of the victims with various degrees of injury are hospitalised. I can tell you that the cause of the accident was the dilapidated nature of the road.

“It is unfortunate that the road that links the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja and the South-West is in that sorry state. We appeal to the Federal Government to do something about the road,” Shaba said.

Meanwhile, the Emir of Lapai, Alhaji Umar Bago, has commiserated with the families of those who lost their lives in the accident, while praying for those who sustained injuries to have quick recovery.

The emir, who received officials of NSEMA, led by Shaba, commended the state government for its quick responses in times of emergency in the state.

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