By Eric Elezuo
As Nigerians were struggling to recover from the trauma of last weekend’s massacre of innocent villagers of Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State by suspected Fulani Herdsmen, another devastating tragedy struck, taking young budding lives in its wake.
Eyewitnesses have claimed that a rickety tanker carrying 33 litres of premium motor spirit, otherwise known as petrol, has stumbled on the road, spilled its content before exploding in flames, causing an inferno that claimed yet to be ascertained number of lives and destroying over 50 choice cars and commuter buses. the spontaneity of the fire has caused the trapping of most road users, especially those inside vehicles, and most of them were roasted alive.
It has been argued in many quarters that what happened on Thursday could have been avoided if only there was a genuine outfit saddled with the responsibility of checking the road worthiness of vehicles that ply our various roads. One may argue that there are outfits responsible for the duties. But the question remains ‘how sincere are they in the discharge of these responsibilities’. Do they not compromise their integrity when they are induced by these truck owners.
Again, why is it normal for a driver to enter the road with what he knows could be the death of not only him, but a good number of others, who may be unfortunate to be at the scene when misfortune strikes.Those nine lives and still counting lost at Otedola Bridge did not bargain for what they got. They were cut down in their prime, irrespective of how they were at the point of death – a horrible death.
It is therefore, high time government began to strictly implement its laid down traffic rules in terms of the kind of vehicle permitted to ply the roads, maintenance of the roads where these vehicles move as well as taking a cursory look at the psychological balance or imbalance of most if not all of these drivers. Most of them behave like they are liquor controlled while they are on the steering, and care less about how the maneuver the vehicles and the roads. In implementing these rules, government must ensure prompt and adequate remuneration of the officials responsible for carring out these functions. so doing, the possibility of their being tempted to look the other way while deadly atrocities are committed will be ruled out, if not completely, at least to a commendable level.
These deaths are uncalled for, and the country joined their voices to say no to road accidents.