Kogi, a north-central state in Nigeria, recorded what many described as the most tragic incident this year as a petrol tanker rammed into a number of vehicles and burst into flames, killing no fewer than 23 people in the Felele area, along the Kogi-Abuja road, on Wednesday.
Most of the dead victims are schoolchildren and student of the Kogi State Polytechnic. Drivers and motorcycle riders were also among the casualties.
The 33,000-litre tanker, which belonged to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, lost control around 8am, leading to the fire incident.
President Muhammadu Buhari described the accident as “another disturbing and saddening incident in the litany of tragedies that have befallen our country.”
In a statement entitled ‘President Buhari mourns victims of Lokoja tanker explosion’, Gara Shehu, senior media aide, said Buhari is worried over the frequency of what he called “large-scale tragedies” in the country.
“These frequent incidents that result in loss of lives and property are a national scandal caused by our indifference to safety standards,” the statement read in part.
“Many accidents are preventable if proper proactive and precautionary measures are put in place or properly observed as routine policies.
“Ours is a country where we move on whenever tragedies occur instead of taking preventive safety measures to forestall future calamities.”
The President therefore called on the county’s transport authorities, traffic and road management agencies as well as law enforcement officials to sit up and enforce safety standards with more seriousness.