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Tankers inferno

Published by The Nation on Tue, 09 Jun 2015

Tankers infernodoes that remind you of Dantes Inferno, the first of the Italian Dante Alighieris 14th century three-part epic poetry Divine Comedy, the second and third parts being Purgatorio (Purgatory) and Paradiso (Paradise)'Dantes Divine Comedy is an allegory of the progressive purification of a God-seeking soul, from the nine earthly circles of punishment (limbo, lust, gluttony, greed, anger, heresy, violence, fraud and treachery), to the grim mount of purgatory and finally, to paradise.To find heaven, man must purge himself of all carnal dross. Comedy was Dantes contribution to medieval stick-and-carrot evangelism.Not so, today Tankers inferno, which in Lagos has assumed added hellish fury, these last seven days. These secular infernos, which reckless fuel tanker drivers perpetrate, have nothing to do with the afterlife. It is rather cumulative driving indiscipline, which end in hideous fatality and wanton wastes: in lives, limbs and property.June 2, Iyana Ipaja, a Lagos suburb: About 2 am, a tanker loaded with petrol, fell off the Ipaja bridge, reportedly because of brake failure. Despite the yeoman efforts by personnel of the Lagos Fire Service, an estimated N20 million worth of goods and property were consumed. Even shop keepers, who left proceeds of the previous days sale in their shops, got the cash burnt. Estimates in trauma, with most of the victims watching their life labour go up in flame, was almost unquantifiable. But no life was immediately lost.June 5, Idimu, another Lagos suburb: one of two racing petroleum-bearing tankers, at about 12 midnight, fell off a flyover, spilling its 33, 000-litre combustible content into adjoining gutters; and exploded in a humongous blaze. At the end, 34 houses, 70 shops and one tricycle got consumed. Though no life was reportedly lost, not a few of the traumatised victims effectively ended up as the virtual living dead: their houses, businesses and even inheritances got guttedjust like that!June 7, Oribawa Bus Stop, Lekki-Epe Expressway, Lagos: another fuel tanker fell, spilling its content on the expressway, incidentally in front of a service station. Had that spill resulted in a fire, the station would have been engulfed in the blaze, and the adjoining buildings, at great risk. But thank goodness, no fire. Neither was there collateral auto crashes, borne out of slippery roadsall thanks to the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA).Three fuel tanker spills in a week might be some hideous welcome to Akinwunmi Ambode, the new Lagos governor. But certainly, no coincidence: falling tankers, spilling their contents and causing innocent motorists and other passers-by needless grief, are rather routine.What to do' Governor Ambode spoke of a confab with tanker owners, drivers and allied stakeholdersnot a bad idea.But the rapidity of these tragic incidents are no accidents. They are rather headless incidents from wilful players; who reinforce extremely bad habits simply because they got off lightly from previous reckless acts.So, whatever the fuel tanker confab agenda, crime and punishment must top it. For too long, innocent citizens have perished because careless citizens have defaulted in their safety responsibilities.It is therefore high time the governor read the riot act. Harsh punishments must be meted to these suicidal on the road. Then tanker owners must be made to bear the full brunt of the costly mistakes of their employees. That should be immediate.Of course, there should also be mass enlightenment for this class of Nigerians to depart from their suicidal ways. But never again must a careless minority lead the innocent majority to avoidable grief.The post Tankers inferno appeared first on The Nation.]]>
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