ABUJA – THE Senate, yesterday condemned in very strong terms, the killing of over 50 people in Benue State, following the explosion of a petrol tanker in Gwer East Local Government Area.
The Senate while describing the incident as sad and unfortunate, however blamed the incident on a portion of a federal road.
Subsequently, the Senate has resolved to constitute an adhoc committee to liaise with relevant agencies, organisations and stakeholders to identify the remote and immediate cause of incessant petroleum tanker explosions in Nigeria.
When the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan constitutes the Committee, it would come up with sustainable solutions to the Senate within eight weeks.
The Upper Chamber has also called on the a federal government to release funds for the dualization of the Keffi-Lafia-Makurdi-Enugu road, where the incident happened.
Also yesterday, the Senate called on the management of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to quickly assist the affected families, even as it has urged the Federal Ministry of Health to quickly intervene and assist the families affected and victims undergoing medical attention in different hospitals.
Resolutions of the Senate were sequel to a motion entitled, ” Benue Tanker explosions: Urgent need to curb incessant explosions of Petroleum Tankers in Nigeria” and sponsored by Senator Emmanuel Orker-Jev, Benue North West.
Presenting the motion, Senator Orker-Jev said that the ” Senate notes the unfortunate explosion of a petroleum tanker in Ahumbe village, along Makurdi-Aliade-Otukpo Federal Highway in Gwer East Local Government Area of Benue State on Monday 19′ July, 2019.
According to him, the Senate further “notes that the driver of the tanker had lost control of the vehicle after trying to dodge a pothole at a very dilapidated portion of the Federal Highway around Ahumbe village and crashed by the roadside;
“Regrets that people from the nearby villages defied warning from security personnel and were scooping fuel fort” the fallen tanker, then a passenger bus maneuvering its way suddenly scratched its exhaust on the road which sparked the fire killing over 50 people and over 100 others secured various degrees of burns and injuries;
“Worried that several cases of similar incidents are relatively common in Nigeria as fires and explosions often occur due to badly maintained roads or because people attempt to siphon off fuel from tankers and pipelines.”
The lawmaker further explained that “the Senate Disturbed that the death toll could rise as many of the injured were in a critical state at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH) as most victims were severely burnt, while the least of them secured 75 percent lower degree burns and that more critical cases were being referred to other hospitals;
“Concerned that nearby houses, shops, cars and other valuable properties were also burnt down in the explosion worth millions of Naira;
“Aware that the Federal Government has awarded contracts for the dualization of the Keff-Lafia-MakurdiEnugu Road covering the Makurdi-Aliade-Otukpo Federal Highway where the incident occurred;
“Cognisance of the urgent need to end the unfortunate incessant incidents of petroleum tanker explosions in Nigeria by proffering sustainable solutions.”