It saddens the heart to note the pains, sorrows and tears the spate of fuel tanker accidents have caused most families across the country. This wanton losses recorded often are no doubt alarmingly worrisome. It has even turned many homeless, while some are now widows or widowers, orphans and many others have seen their source of livelihood gone within seconds.
Ironically, in spite of repeated sensitisation by both governmental and non-governmental agencies to ending this worrying menace, accidents involving tankers are still on the increase.
We recall with heavy hearts the Onitsha tragedy, in which about 70 people were burnt to death, while several others sustained various degrees of injuries, with 15 other buses burnt to ashes as a result of the tanker/lorry accident at Asaba Park in Onitsha, upper Iweka. Another happened in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, claiming the lives of a newly wedded couple and their guests. The catalogue of sadness continued in far away Lagos as two tankers fell in Idimu and Iyanna Ipaja areas of the state, destroying hundreds of shops, and houses.
These incidents are no doubt becoming widespread and needing urgent government intervention. We agree that most of the incidents are avoidable and are caused largely by gross indiscipline and unjustifiable neglect both on the part of the drivers and owners of the tankers. For instance, tankers carrying inflammables goods are driven by people who are either under the influence of alcohol, drugs or are not properly licensed to drive such heavy-duty vehicles. And to worsen the situation further, the roads are so bad and the different categories of law enforcement agencies saddled with the task of checkmating the irresponsibility and unruliness of the drivers have surprisingly being compromised in many ways.
It is against this backdrop therefore that the government must rise up to its responsibilities, first by speeding up actions to reduce the growing number of tankers carrying fuel across the country. Secondly, government must strive also to protect the pipelines from vandalisation as well as ensuring that the railways are working. This we believe will increase the lifespan of the roads as well as save the lives of other road users from the recklessness of tanker drivers. If done, government would have succeeded in halving the increasing number of fuel tankers on our roads as well as the records of deaths.
However, since tanker drivers and their owners are laws to themselves on our highways, government and its agencies should work towards an enlightenment campaign on the dangers of not only of faulty and rickety vehicles, but also the need for regular maintenance of vehicles as well as on the need to obey all traffic related laws.
Meanwhile, we commiserate with the families of the deceased and those who have in one way or the other lost valuables. We urge both government and well-meaning individuals and corporate bodies to assist the families of these innocent victims in order for them to cope with life’s unending challenges.

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