EDITORIAL: The Spate of Tanker Fires In Nigeria

imageWhile Nigeria grapples with Boko Haram-caused explosions that have been again unleashed with vengeance on the embattled northern Nigeria, from Maiduguri in Borno State to Yola in
Adamawa State, another type of explosions seems to have engulfed the entire country in the past weeks: Petrol tanker infernos raging across the country from west to east.
Since the last week of May, petrol tanker accidents have been making unprecedented headlines, starting from the episode at Iyana-Ipaja Bridge axis of Lagos State where properties and residential buildings worth millions of naira were lost to the ensuing conflagration.

Then followed the disastrous Onitsha incident where a petrol tanker exploded in an inferno that roasted about 70 men, women and children alive.

Smoke from the Onitsha incidence was still rising when yet another petrol tanker ruptured in flames at Idimu in Alimosho Federal constituency of Lagos where about 40 houses were burnt and property worth millions of naira were again destroyed.

More worrisome to us is the seeming nonchalance of Nigerians and the federal and state government towards those reported deaths; seeming to indicate these are not fathers, husbands, mothers, wives, sons, daughters, etc.
Compare these Nigeria incidents with the Ghana petrol station inferno that killed about 175 in Accra. The Ghanaian government responded by announcing three days of national mourning that began Monday.

Even Nigeria sent message of condolence to Ghanaians, but for the dozens of Nigerians that have met their untimely deaths through petrol tanker explosions, no words for them.

Ghana seems to feel more concern when misfortune befell its citizens. For example, following a case of a stadium collapse in the country decades ago, their government still observes annual public holidays in remembrance of the “fallen heroes” till date.

Ironically, the about 15,000 Nigerians that have died from the Boko Haram onslaught, according to Amnesty International reports, seems to have died for nothing; No lessons learnt, no remembrance, nothing! Just a mass grave as the victims were either unidentified or unidentifiable.

It appears Nigerians are immune to feelings of empathy!

Following the recent headlines someone at least took note: the Senator elect for Lagos West Senatorial District, Hon. Solomon Adeola recently “expressed sadness and commiseration to his constituents on yet another petrol tanker accident at Idimu in his Alimosho Federal constituency where about 40 houses were burnt and property worth millions of naira destroyed”.

“This is the second accident in less than a week following the petrol tanker accident at Iyana-Ipaja Bridge axis of his senatorial district where properties and residential buildings worth millions of naira were lost to the ensuing inferno,” the Senator said.
One hopes Nigeria authorities will go beyond this and similar messages of regret to taking concrete measures to forestall future occurrences, for example: what new legislatures should be put in place? What novel infrastructures should be installed? Which monuments to be erected as reminders of sad events that could readily have been prevented if we had been more human than robots?

Not to stretch imaginations too far, which day/days were set aside as NATIONAL MOURNING to, at the least, reflect on the sad events, the fact that these victims were not only humans, but could have easily been one of us?

Until these and other demanding issues are attended to, please, what’s the next headline?

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