Following the recent fuel tanker explosion leading to the death of 12 people and 54 vehicles burnt down on the Otedola Link Bridge in Lagos, Senate on Wednesday summoned heads of agencies dealing with tankers and their drivers in order to forestall future occurrence.
Consequently, Senate mandated the relevant committees of the Senate to invite the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) “with a view to finding a legislative solution towards to deal with such tragic incidence”.
This just as the Senate asked the FRSC, Nigeria police and all other relevant agencies to cooperate with Lagos and other states in ensuring that drivers of articulated vehicles comply with both federal and states traffic safety laws.
The Senate resolutions were sequel to a motion sponsored under Order 43 of its Standing Rule by Senator Olugbenga Ashafa (APC Lagos East) and cosponsored by Senators Oluremi Tinubu (APC Lagos Central) and Solomon Adeola (APC Lagos West), respectively.
It also enjoined the Nigeria police to “work with FRSC to carry out a thorough investigation of circumstances leading to the accident that led to the fuel tanker fire with a view to prosecuting anyone found culpable in this preventable fire incident”.
It therefore mandated the relevant committees of the Senate to invite the FRSC and the NNPC “with a view to finding a legislative solution towards ensuring that before trucks are loaded, mandatory safety checks are put in place to ascertain the condition of the tank and the road worthiness of the vehicles to haul the products”.
The upper legislative chamber also adopted an additional prayer, that the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing as well as state governments should accelerate the development of trailer parks and installation of way bridges to manage trailer movement on roads.
Leading debate on the motion, Senator Ashafa urged the federal government to find an alternative way of transporting fuel with a view to reducing tanker accidents in every part of the country.
He said, “The Senate is further concerned that there seemed to be a clear trail of preventable human error, lack of road worthiness as the prevalent causes of these accidents.”
The lawmaker, who noted that the federal government had been working hard on revamping the Nigerian railway system, which would create an alternative approach to haulage of petroleum and other products, stressed the need for urgent enforcement of strict driving rules and road worthiness of all vehicles plying the nation’s roads, especially articulated vehicles.
Contributing, Senator Abdulfatai Buhari (APC Oyo North) wants the executive to make stiffer laws and punish defaulters.
“This is purely human error, how can a trailer that is carrying 33, 000 tonnes of fuel have a break failure? Who are the people checking it? Something fundamental is wrong and we need to check the system and take precautions. Unless we take a drastic action and heads roll, things will not change”, he said.
Also, Senator Tinubu argued that the only way to address the congestion of fuel tankers and also prevents accidents, is for the government, individuals and corporate bodies to build trailer parks in various states.
In his remarks, the senate president, Dr Bukola Saraki, said the incident could have been avoided if proper checks on vehicles and their drivers are made. “It’s very unfortunate but I think it’s something that could be prevented if we all abide by the guidelines and ensure enforcement of laws that exist.”
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