It saddens the heart to note the pains, sorrows and tears caused by accidents involving fuel tankers across the country. The hopelessness and wanton destruction is no doubt alarmingly worrisome. It has even turned many homeless, while some are now widows or widowers, orphans, and many others seeing their source of livelihood gone within seconds.
Ironically, in spite of repeated sensitisation by both governmental and non-governmental agencies aimed at ending this worrying menace it has persisted. 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 beyond recognition because of an accident involving a lorry and a fuel tanker 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 residences.
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 these articulated vehicles. For instance, tankers carrying inflammables are being driven by drivers who are either under the influence of alcohol, drugs or are not properly licensed to drive such lorry.
To worsen the situation, personnel of law enforcement agencies saddled with the task of ensuring safety on the roads 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 on our roads. And secondly, government must strive to protect the pipelines from vandalisation as well as ensuring that the railways are functional. 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 ever-increasing number of fuel tankers on our roads as well as the record 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 faulty and rickety vehicles, but also putting their vehicles in good condition as well as on the need to obey all traffic related laws
All these notwithstanding, 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 coping with life’s unending challenges.

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