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Friday, 5 July 2019

Death of 50 in Benue’s fire avoidable, says Senate

The Senate said on Thursday that the death of over 50 people in petrol tanker explosion in Gwer East Local Government Area was avoidable, if only the right thing was done.


The position of the upper chamber followed the adoption of a motion on “Benue tanker explosion: Urgent need to curb incessant explosions of petroleum tankers in Nigeria,” sponsored by Senator Emmanuel Oker-Jev.

The Senate blamed the deadly incident on a failed portion of a federal road in the area.

Oker-Jev, in his lead debate, noted that over 100 people, who sustained different degrees of injuries, were battling for survival in various hospitals across the state.

The Benue North West senator expressed worry that the death toll could rise as many of the injured were in a critical state at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital.

He said most victims were severely burnt and the least of them had 75 percent lower degree burns.

The Senate resolved to urge the Federal Government to urgently release funds for the dualisation of the Keffi-Lafia-Makurdi-Enugu road, where the incident happened.

It also asked the management of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to quickly assist the affected families.

It called on the Federal Ministry of Health to intervene and assist the victims undergoing medical attention in different hospitals in the state.

The lawmakers resolved to constitute an ad-hoc committee to liaise with relevant agencies, organisations, and stakeholders to identify the remote and immediate cause of incessant petroleum tanker explosions in the country.

The committee when constituted, the Senate said, should come up with sustainable solutions to petroleum tanker explosions.

A step to curtail incessant tanker explosions, which the lawmakers highlighted, was the immediate ban of underage truck drivers across major highways in the country.

It was also their view that proper inspection of articulated vehicles should be the top priority of relevant agencies.

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