May 26, 2024

Oct 1, tragedy on Benin-Sapele road: Fuel tanker explosion claims several lives, destroys multiple vehicles


Oredola Adeola


Scores of people died, while more than 30 cars have been burnt down due to a fuel tanker explosion caused by a bad road between Ologbo and Koko, along Benin-Sapele road in Delta state, resulting in a gridlock on Sunday, October 1, 2023.

DSP Bright Edafe,  Delta State Police Public Relations Officer, and Mr. Udeme Eshiet, C Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Delta State, confirmed the accident in separate statements on Sunday.



According to Edafe, about eight buses, two tankers, five trailers, two cars, and one motorcycle were burnt completely as the fire raged uncontrollably during the explosion.



The Delta State Police PRO said, “In the early hours of today (Sunday), 1/10/2023 0200hrs, the Command recorded a tragic incident where a tanker laden with PMS being driven towards Benin along Warri – Benin Road fell down upon getting to Ugbenu Koko Junction.



“Its content spilled into the nearby swamp, and the spillage attracted a couple of youths who took advantage of the incident and started scooping the fuel into jerry cans and other containers.



“While they were at it, an explosion erupted and the fire from the explosion engulfed the whole area.



“The fire claimed the lives of five persons amongst the youths who had come to scoop the spilled fuel and also combusted several properties which include the following: the fallen tanker, eight buses of different makes, two Tankers, five Trailers including a fully loaded cement truck, two Motorcycles, one Siena Space bus and one ‘C’ Class Mercedes Benz car.



“Due to the fire, the registration numbers of all these affected vehicles were not clearly visible. At the event of this outburst, the scene was visited, and the bodies of the victims were evacuated to Oghara General Hospital’s mortuary.



“In a bid to clear the road of obstructions efforts are being made by the men of Oghara Police Division, in collaboration with the Federal Road Safety Commission {FRSC} at Ethiope West LGA to ensure the free flow of traffic.



“In the light of this tragic incident, the Delta State Police Command, CP Wale Abass extends his condolence to the families of those who lost their lives in this unfortunate event.



“He further expressed his displeasure at the inexorable perversity of Nigerians, especially the youths. He stated that it is sad that we never learn from past occurrences, since this isn’t the first time such an incident has happened.



“Nonetheless, he appeals that Nigerians should do away with greed and avoid scenes where there is an occurrence of oil spillages as it poses a serious threat to their lives and the lives of others.



“The CP also appreciates the Federal Road safety for working hand in hand with the Command in assuring convenience to all road users in Delta state,” Edafe Delta State Police PRO said in the statement.

Delta State Sector Commander of FRSC in his own account reported that eight people were burnt beyond recognition with seven others sustaining injuries, adding that 15 vehicles were involved in the crash.



Eshiet therefore attributed the cause of the accident to fuel explosion from the tanker that fell on its own.



EnergyDay gathered that the recent incident is not the first, as motorists claimed that the entire Benin-Sapele road in Delta state has become a death trap for Nigerians, due to several failed portions left unattended to for many years.


 Akingbola, a similar fire explosion occurred along the Ologbo route in July 2020. He said that the incident similar to the recent one, was a tragic reality as seen in the live burning of people.