***8 bodies buried already, search for more bodies ongoing – LG Chairman
By Peter Duru – Makurdi
The Benue State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, Mr Yakubu Mohammed, has disclosed that 12 bodies have so far been recovered from the site of a petrol tanker explosion at Oshigbudu in Agatu Local Government Area, LGA, of Benue state.
The sector Commander who stated this Monday in Makurdi explained that the casualty figure could be higher much later at the end of the search and rescue operation.
According to him, “the number of deaths as a result of the explosion is 12 but there could be deaths that could be beyond our purview to know but the State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA or National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, may fish them out.
“You know that the houses that got burnt in the incident will not be classified as crash so when these agencies visit the houses they may discover more corpse from the debris.
“But those involved in the crash were 12. Of the number, eight were males, three were females, and a child.
“In view of this indictment, I want to call on all petroleum tanker owners to ensure the immediate installation of Safety Valves on their tankers to ensure the safety of lives, properties, and the products their vehicles convey.
“It is disheartening to see some petroleum tankers still plying the roads without Safety Valves fixed on them despite the February 2021 deadline earlier issued.
“Any driver caught contravening the standard will risk going to jail. Tanker drivers should be safety conscious always and should abide by all safety rules and regulations.
“I assured members of the public that FRSC will not rest on its oars at ensuring discipline on the road. And the Command would always be ready to respond promptly to any rescue operations just as we are ready to always partner with all stakeholders to ensure a safer road culture in Benue state,” he said.
While sympathising with the people of Oshigbudu over the unfortunate incident Mohamed also called on tanker drivers to avoid giving their vehicles to their ‘motor boys’ to drive on highways while conveying petroleum products.
On his part, the Chairman of Agatu LGA, Mr Sule Adoyi, said aside from the dead, three others were hospitalized.
“Apart from the dead, three persons have been hospitalized, over 20 motorcycles, some cars were burnt, over 72 houses were burnt down completely.
“At the moment we have buried eight of the victims. Some of the victims died in their shops where they were selling their wares after church.
“Also some of them got trapped in the inferno and we did not discover their corpses until about 7 pm yesterday because their houses burnt and fell on them.
“Among the dead were the assists to the truck driver, who were also burnt beyond recognition,” the Council Chairman said.
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