Nigeria News

The Dark Day On Otedola Bridge Where Hundreds of People Were Burnt To Death

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Nigeria News takes a look at the accident on Otedola Bridge, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway where scores of people were burnt to death, including about 50 vehicles

Hell Fire may not be worse than the conflagration on Otedola Bridge, on the approach to Berger Area on Lagos – Ibadan Expressway on Thursday evening. The human toll and the material loss are monumental and Irreplaceable.

The pains and suffering will be much and enduring. Lagos is in grief. Nigeria is mourning. Humanity is bereaved.

Amidst this loss and pain, it is not too early to start thinking about how to avert another similar tragedy in this area that has become notorious for petrol tanker explosions and terrible accidents of goods-laden long vehicles.

The hackneyed suggestions are well known: good roads, good vehicles, and good drivers; for most accidents are caused by a combination of bad roads, vehicles that are not roadworthy, and bad driving.

Owners of fuel laden tankers and their drivers should observe and discharge a special duty of care to themselves and other road users.

However, there is one recommendation that has been missing over the years, as far as the aversion of disasters on the Otedola BridgeHead is concerned: a total reconstruction of the Otedola Bridge, with a very high elevation, such that the slope of deaths that causes long vehicles and fuel tankers to reel back, while climbing the hill toward Berger, and which causes their brakes to fail, in that area when they are Lagos bound, will be eliminated.

In other words, the time has come for both the Federal Government of Nigeria and Lagos State Government to reconstruct that Bridge and Road in that area. This must be a special intervention that does not need to be tied to the reconstruction of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. It is an urgent task. A task that is more compelling than the reconstruction of the Oshodi – Murtala Muhammed International Airport Road.

The hill has to be eliminated by a solid civil engineering work. This is the best way, in the prevailing circumstances, to prevent further loss of lives in that tragic spot.

One can only hope somebody in government is reading and thinking. Even as official casualty figures are yet to be released, we mourn these losses.

No fewer than 50 vehicles got burnt and inside each, there was an average of two persons that were affected. Though the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA said that nine bodies were recovered, eyewitness’ account put the number of casualties to about 50.

It was a gory sight as sympathizers lamented over the incessant accident at the same spot.

Thursday accident will make it about five times that lives would be wasted on Otedola Bridge. But last night, it was more grievous because it happened just when residents were returning from work and students coming back from schools.

Among those that were burnt to death included pupils, whose school bus ran into the evil petrol tanker.

May God grant the souls of the departed eternal rest, and may He comfort the bereaved and grieving.

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