It’s time for Ogun State Government to plan ahead to avoid inestimable risks that may be associated with fire incidence or others.
The Ogun State Capital of Abeokuta was engulfed in blaze early in the morning of Tuesday January 19, 2021 when people were just resuming works. The conflagration which was reported occurred at Guaranty Trust Bank, Kuto Abeokuta branch area and it started few minutes past 9 when a tanker fell off its lane and ran at other vehicles coming on the opposite direction.
The reports had it that lives, vehicles and other properties were lost in the unfortunate incident. However, the details are still unfolding as no accurate record has been ascertained of total number of lives lost and properties destroyed.
The Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA) commiserate with Ogun State government, the family and relatives of those whose lives were lost and the community leaders whose community experienced the sad incident.
However, it is worthy of note that although the fire service and other relevant agencies got to the place with little effect on the incident, there could have been less loss if there had been serious preparation for such occurrence by agencies concerned.
In fact, a revelation that got to RIFA after the incident was that the calamity could have been worse if it fell on a day which just occurred few days ago when Police reportedly led by a DPO in Abeokuta, Vehicle Inspection Officers and Road Safety Officers were at the same spot asking tens/hundreds of vehicles to park for vehicle particulars’ inspection so as to identify expired documents.
Ideally, this could have been a laudable programme if done at the right time and place by a serious government genuinely in need of revenue. Unfortunately despite RIFA efforts and suggestions to Ogun government at ensuring the government comply with the laws of the land on revenue collection, it continuously allows hundreds of millions of Naira in revenue that should have gone to government purse end in individual pockets on daily basis.
By the time Nigerians take charge, may it not be late for the government that ignores RIFA advice and warning.
On the Road Safety, Vehicle Inspection and Police officers who are fond of creating check points at dangerous places, it is time they stopped to save lives and properties which they are engaged to protect.
Or how could assumed security agencies be embodiment of calamities? The particular spot where the accident occurred at Kuto, Abeokuta is a popular junction which vehicles coming from the Kuto flyover must pass whether it has any mechanical failure or not.
Assuming a vehicle (tanker laden with fuel) with mechanical failure was to run into vehicles parked by such Road Safety or Security officers in the name of particulars inspection, what could have been the fate of tens or hundreds of people that might have been involved?
As a result, RIFA opine that such spots where there is lack of space to escape during emergency should not be inspection spots again. This is to avoid inestimable risks that may be associated with such situation.
Also, the fire service stations should be strategically stationed in major cities and towns in the state while every local government area should be made to have at least a functional fire station to respond to such disaster.
The government of Ogun State should also regulate the movement of fuel tankers within the Cities so as to avoid recurrence in the future. The tanker owners should also ensure necessary measures such as refrain from drug abuse by drivers, monitoring servicing of their vehicles, etc are put in place to avoid such calamities in the future.
Frantic efforts should also be made by the government to identify those who lost their lives and properties in the inferno while their families should be handsomely compensated even though that cannot return the lost lives but it would, at least, reduce the burden.
Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA)