It was another day of agony for motorists and commuters on the Lagos/Ibadan Expressway yesterday after a petrol tanker exploded, burning six vehicles and causing gridlock on the major artery linking the South West to the South-South and the South East.
A similar incident of less tragic consequences occurred in Osogbo, Osun State capital as another petrol laden tanker fell while ascending the November 27 overhead bridge in the area
The Lagos incident occurred at about 2.45 am yesterday when the petrol tanker suddenly exploded about 300 metres from a fallen 40 ft container which officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) were trying to recover.
“The tanker had collided with a truck while moving inward Berger and exploded immediately,” Information Commissioner Gbenga Omotoso said on his Facebook wall.
Personnel of LASEMA and the State Fire Service jointly put out the fire and salvaged a tanker with registration number KJA 662 YA laden with 33,000 litres of petrol.
There was no loss of life in the incident.
Many motorists and commuters were stranded on account of the gridlock caused by the incident.
Some passengers resorted to walking to their destinations.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said the expressway had been hit by gridlock since Friday night, extending to parts of Ibadan.
Some motorists slept on the highway as a result of the traffic snarl while FRSC and other agencies were busy balling with the situation to ease traffic flow.
A truck driver, Mr Isaac Emmanuel, told NAN that he had been on the road since Friday afternoon, coming from the Sagamu end.
“The incident has made vehicular traffic to be at a standstill since yesterday,” he said, describing the situation as hellish.
Another passenger, Mr Waliu Olalade, said that he had to trek from the old toll gate at the Ibadan end of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway to Soka area due to the heavy traffic.
“So many people, especially those passing through the expressway, are just trekking to their destinations.
“Apart from the trailers that fell on the way, some people have also attributed the traffic situation to impatience on the part of some motorists,” he said.
Speaking on the development, however, the FRSC Sector Commander in the state, Mrs Uche Chukwurah, said there was no accident or broken down vehicles that could have caused the gridlock on the expressway.
Chukwurah identified motorists’ impatience, lane indiscipline and not giving consideration to other road users as major causes of the gridlock.
She noted that the gridlock started around Orienta axis on the expressway, where a construction company had closed a lane and diverted traffic to the other lane.
The sector commander said that motorists only needed to move for a few kilometers before getting back into the normal two lanes, stressing, however, that they were impatient, hence the traffic snarl.
Chukwurah insisted that the ongoing reconstruction of the expressway, which had been on for a long time, was not the cause of the gridlock, but lack of patience on the part of motorists.
In Osun State, there was palpable fear on Saturday around the NECO office, Africa area of Osogbo after a petrol laden tanker fell while ascending the November 27 overhead bridge in the area.
The Nation learnt that the incident, which occurred in the early hours of Saturday, caused panic and fear for residents in the area.
The tanker containing 40,000 litres of fuel got detached from its trunk, spilling its content on the road.
A resident who identified himself simply as Adeleye, whose workshop and house is not far from the bridge, said: “The tanker was ascending the November 27 Bridge, then suddenly the propeller that joined the tanker and the trunk broke.
“The tanker detached from the trunk and fell. The content in it spilled on the road. We were so scared because there was a minor fire on the road. We informed the fire service.”
When contacted, the spokesperson of Osun State Fire Service, Ibraheem Adekunle, confirmed the incident, saying: “The propeller that joined the tanker and the engine head together suddenly broke and thereby detached the main tanker from its head and fell while trying to ascend November 27 Bridge on its way to Oba Adesoji Aderemi Road.
“The tanker immediately burst and its content spilled all over the place within Ataoja Estate.”
He noted that the residents informed the agency around 1 am and they swiftly moved to the scene.