By Raphael Ekpang
The Senate on Thursday resolved to accelerate the passage of the petroleum tankers safety bill in a bid to stem the tide of tragic fuel tanker fire disaster in Onitsha in particular and the country in general.
This is sequel to a motion sponsored by Senator Ifeanyi Ubah (Anambra south) and co- sponsored by Senator Stella Oduah (Anambra north) and Senator Lilian Ekwunife (Anambra Central) at the plenary on Thursday.
The Upper legislative chamber urged the federal government to include financial support in the package to the affected persons to enable them restart their businesses.
Sen. Ubah recalled the unfortunate petrol tanker inferno of Wednesday, 16th October and Thursday 17th October, which took place at Upper Iweka in Onitsha and claimed innocent lives, including the death of a woman and her child.
Consequently, the lawmakers urged the Nigeria Police Force to work in conjunction with the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) to carry out a thorough investigation of the circumstances leading to the accident that led to the fuel tanker fire, with a view to prosecuting anyone found culpable in the preventable fire incident.
The senate resolved to send a delegation to visit and commiserate with the victims and the people of Anambra state, even as it urged the Anambra state government to unravel the reason why fire service in the state could not speedily respond to the emergency with a view to curtailing such incident in future.
Meanwhile, senators observed a minute silence in honour of all those who died in the fuel tanker fire incidence; and also applauded the federal government for the promise to assist the victims and the affected traders with relief materials and to work with the Anambra state government to forestall future fire incidences.
According to Senator Ubah, “That such magnitude of inferno could rage for over four hours before fire service came to rescue still beat my imagination”.
“Buildings, shops, business premises and markets within the neighborhood were razed down by the inferno from the crashed petrol tanker thereby depriving those families their sources of livelihood,” he bemoan.
Ubah observed that between 2015 and 2018, the same issues of fuel tanker infernos and accidents caused by articulated vehicles still bedevil the highways.
“In order to ensure safer roads across the country, there has to be stricter enforcement of traffic safety rules by the FRSC, the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) and all relevant security agencies across the country” Ubah added.
By Raphael Ekpang