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Emergency Response In Coma: Lagos–Ibadan Highway Crashes Defy Homemade Solution - Travel - Nairaland

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Emergency Response In Coma: Lagos–Ibadan Highway Crashes Defy Homemade Solution by prof2007: 1:46am On Sep 12
Two days after the Federal Government extended rehabilitation of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway to the Kara end of the Long Bridge, two tankers, one laden with diesel, and the other, petrol, while coming from Lagos, during the early hours of Wednesday, September 4, 2019, plunged into the drain around Kara-Ibafo, in the Obafemi-Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State.

The tanker accidents, which many said were caused by narrowness of the road, exposed the unpreparedness of agencies responsible for emergencies in the state. According to eyewitnesses, the diesel and petrol in the tankers remained intact despite the intensity of the accidents, but a bid to trans-load the contents led to a fire that burnt two tankers, killed one Mukthar Muhammod and inflicted various degrees of burns on eight others including Rabiu Umar, Sulaimon Sanni, Ibrahim Mohammed, Ibrahim Adebayo, Daud Rahif aka Baba Aliya, Nurudeen Yusuf and an official of the state fire service, Adeleke Adelekan.

The victims, most of whom were purportedly hired for the trans-loading, had successfully offloaded the diesel into another tanker and were almost finishing their job when the hose connecting the pumping machine to the tankers suddenly disconnected from the machine, causing the petrol to spill uncontrollably on the ground. This tense moment, according to one of the victims, Umar, made 22-year-old Adebayo to use his bare hands to block the outlet where the petrol was gushing out from. The blockage caused the petrol to flow into the silencer of the machine, which created the spark that led to an explosion.

Within seconds, residents and business owners scampered for safety, but some people, who audaciously confronted the fear of getting burnt, were said to have rendered a helping hand to some of the victims engulfed in the raging fire that ravaged the two tankers.

“The tragedy would have been averted if the machine was switched off when the hose disconnected or if the hose Mukthar held at the fallen tanker’s compartment was removed from it,” 36-year-old Umar, hinted while groaning in pain from the injuries he sustained, adding that Mukthar’s proximity to the tanker reduced his chances of surviving the explosion.

The Gombe State indigene said, “After the diesel was trans-loaded into another tanker and the vehicle was towed away, I opened the compartments of the petrol laden tanker and Muktar, held the hose used in trans-loading the petrol from the compartment into an empty tanker. At the top of the other empty tanker, the driver, Nurudeen, and one other guy held the hose firmly at the top of the compartment to control the pressure of the petrol passing through the hose.

“Daud and Adebayo were the ones controlling the machine, while Mohammed and Sanni were filling drums with drops of petrol from the compartment of the fallen tanker into another tanker to reduce wastage during the operation. We had trans-loaded the petrol from two compartments and were about to finish trans-loading from the third compartment when the explosion occurred. The boy (Adebayo) who blocked the petrol from spilling when the hose disconnected was inexperienced because the explosion would not have happened if we had switched off the pumping machine or removed the hose from the compartment.”

Although police and other traffic personnel reportedly controlled vehicular movements around the emergency scene, but another victim, Mohammed, 38, lamented the lackadaisical response of Ogun State Fire Service officials to the emergency, claiming that the Lagos State Fire Service got to the accident scene before them to wet the area with chemicals to forestall tragedy, before the diesel was trans-loaded.

He said, “The police and other traffic operatives were on ground to control vehicular movements around the axis, but they (the OGSFS officials) were to manage the trans-loading of the petrol after the LAGFS had assisted in wetting the scene of the accident with chemicals when the diesel was being trans-loaded. The OGSFS later came with only a water tanker.

“So, before we started trans-loading the petrol, they (the Ogun State Fire Service), wet the first compartment of the tanker and did same to the second compartment. We were surprised that they said water had finished when we were about to start trans-loading from the third compartment. Instead of them to go back to their base to refill the tank, they waited with the assumption that nothing would happen.

“We were all shocked when the explosion occurred and it was too late for them to control the situation. The most painful aspect was that the (OGSFS) officials switched on their vehicle’s engine and drove off, only to come back three hours later with two water tankers to put out the fire that had already caused severe damage. You need to visit the hospital, where some of the victims are receiving treatment to observe the extent of their burns.”

Medical Director, Divine Touch Hospital, Dr Babatunde Odofin, said Adebayo and Adeleke suffered 3rd degree burns from the fire incident, adding that Nurudeen, who suffered no burns, sustained bilateral open fracture on his two legs after he jumped down from the tanker in a bid to escape from the raging fire.

Daud, while grieving on the sick bed, appealed to government to rescue him from his misery, as it was observed that he had also sustained third degree burns in major parts of his body.

In a frail tone, the father of five said, “I am in serious pain, I can’t feed myself or have my bath, my skin has been ripped off and the flesh on my face, hands, thighs and legs is visible and can no longer be the same. The owners of the tanker, through the police, agreed to pay me N30, 000 for this job, till date, I have not been paid.

“The owners of the tanker gave the nurse N35,000, for my treatment when they visited, I have not seen them since then and for now, I have been abandoned. We have spent over N50,000, and the treatment is still ongoing. My machine, which is my source of livelihood, was also destroyed. I don’t know when I will start working as the nurse treating me said I will be here for months; I want the government to assist my family as we now rely on people to survive.”

Another victim, Sanni, while supporting his movement with a walking-stick, lambasted the government and owners of the petrol laden tanker for abandoning them after the explosion.

On Sunday, April 7, 2019, a woman was killed, while her daughter sustained injuries when the jeep with number plate JJJ 930 FL, which was conveying them to their destination, plunged into the Ososa river, along Ijebu-Ode-Benin Expressway, in the Odogbolu Local Government Area of the state.

On Thursday, June 6, 2019, three multiple road crashes reportedly killed 4 people and injured 25 other victims in the Ososa-Ijebu area of the Sagamu-Ijebu-Ode-Benin Expressway and along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. A month later, precisely on Thursday, July 4, 2019, three people died, while 11 others sustained injuries, when a Mazda E220 commercial bus plunged into the Ososa River, after the bus reportedly developed a mechanical fault while in transit, along the Ijebu-Ode/Sagamu Expressway.

However, the frequent occurrences of accidents in various locations make a case for adequate equipment of the agencies saddled with responsibility of responding to emergencies, to mitigate loss of lives and property in the gateway state that serves as nexus linking other parts of Nigeria and West African countries.

Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Kunle Somorin, said the government had resolved to equip the fire service to live up to expectations. He said, “The Ogun State Government is resolved to equip fire service to live up to expectations. The state has just launched vehicles for security and many of them will be on all roads to assist in search and rescue operations.”

The state Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps, Clement Oladele, said an emergency management structure that enabled its officials to respond to emergencies within 15 minutes had been established across the nation, adding that the command’s operatives complemented the efforts of emergency responders at the scene of the Kara-Ibafo tanker explosion.

Oladele said, “Our response was never slow. The FRSC rescue team from nearby Ibafo, after hearing the loud sound made by the crash, immediately raced to the scene. As standard practice, we immediately secured the crash scene, the victims, the crashed trucks, contents, and controlled road users using the road during that period. The safety situation was quickly assessed and the fire service and other agencies were alerted to prevent fire outbreak.

“After successfully trans-loading the diesel contents to another empty tanker, the diesel laden truck together with the crashed tanker was removed from obstructing the corridor. All known safety precautions were carefully implemented during the trans-loading of the 45,000 liters of petrol into another empty tanker but the generator of the pumping machine used for the trans-loading suddenly sparked and caught fire.

“By the time the raging fire was extinguished, five casualties were recorded, one of whom got burnt to death. The injured victims were promptly rescued to Divine Touch Hospital, Ibafo, and the corpse of the burnt victim was deposited at the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital’s mortuary, Sagamu.

The Director, Ogun State Fire Service, Fatai Adefala, said the agency got to the scene of the emergency before Lagos State Fire Service, adding that the agency’s operatives spent 24 hours at the scene of the incident at Kara-Ibafo.

Adefala said, “As per the incident that happened around Lagos-Ibadan expressway, we were on ground to forestall any occurrence. What led to the outbreak was that there was carelessness with the tanker when they were trying to trans-load to an empty tanker. It was during the third compartment that they were careless which led to the fire outbreak.

“We were there since 6:45am and left the next day after we tackled the fire. Saying the Lagos State Fire Service was there before us is a fallacy. Even though the Lagos State Fire Service left after the offloading of the diesel, we were on ground. We have 10 vehicles across the state and the government is still procuring more for us.”

SOURCE (abridged): https://punchng.com/emergency-response-in-comatose-lagos-ibadan-highway-crashes-defying-homemade-solution/

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