Buhari calls for increased road safety standards after Onitsha fire tragedy

TOPSHOT - Passersby walk amid burned cars after an oil tanker exploded on a highway on June 28, 2018 in Lagos killing nine people in a huge blaze. - (Photo by STRINGER / AFP) (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Passersby walk amid burned cars after an oil tanker exploded on a highway in Lagos killing nine people in a huge blaze. (Photo credit STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday called for improved safety standards on the country’s roads following the latest fire disaster caused by a petrol tanker in Onitsha, Anambra State.

A woman and a child died on Wednesday after a petroleum tanker lost control and exploded after crashing. Houses, shops and other properties were destroyed in the incident.

“The fire incident in Onitsha yesterday is sad and regrettable. I am profoundly touched by the sight of the charred remains of an innocent mother and her child, who are victims of this tragedy,” Buhari said in a statement on his official Twitter page.

President Buhari called for urgent action from all stakeholders to reduce the frequency of such fatal disasters on public roads.

“I call on the Ministry of Transport, the Federal Road Safety Commission and other stakeholders to urgently address the issue of safety standards in Nigeria, with a view to stemming the frequency of these tragedies. May the souls of the dead rest in peace Amen,” Buhari said.

Buhari urged authorities to enforce safety precautions and routine maintenance which, he said, are often taken for granted by vehicle owners.

Oil tanker explosions are relatively common in Nigeria.

In 2012, more than 100 people were killed near the city of Port Harcourt when an overturned oil tanker exploded as they attempted to collect fuel from it.

In January this year, police said at least 12 people were killed in Odukpani, Cross River State, after an oil tanker which overturned exploded while people were gathering fuel which was spilling.

Later in July, at least 45 people were killed and more than 100 others were injured in central Nigeria when a petrol tanker crashed off the road and exploded as people attempted to gather fuel.

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