PROPERTIES worth hundreds of millions of Naira were destroyed in a Sunday morning fire incident on Lagos/Ibadan Expressway, Oremeji, Agugu axis, Ibadan, Oyo State, when a trailer loaded with bags of wheat lost control, as its head truck got detached from the silos in an accident caused by a bad portion on the road.
Metro gathered that the accident caused destruction of seven trucks, three buses, one KOMATSU bulldozer, two Micra cars and over 30 shops.
The incident also caused heavy gridlock on the expressway, as most commuters were forced to pass through alternative routes.
Oyo State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) SP Adekunle Ajisebutu informed that a mentally retarded person who usually roam under the bridge was reported to have died in the incident.
An eyewitness informed Metro that the incident occurred around a few minutes past 6.00 a. m, when a white colour Iveco trailer heading towards Ojoo axis, carrying wheat, suddenly hit a pothole on the highway.
The source further stated that the head of the trailer was detached from container, thus hitting another diesel tanker belonging to NIPCO, piercing the tanker at the rear.
The hit, the eyewitness disclosed punched the backside of the tanker, thereby leaving room for leakage, which wet the surface of the highway for more than 100 metres from the scene of the accident.
The tanker was said to have caught fire a few metres away from under the Oremeji overhead bridge, as the driver was maneouvering the narrow space left by tankers and other articulated vehicles parked by the side of the road.
The trailer carrying wheat with registration number JIGAWA KZR 418 XA struggled to a halt in the median of the expressway, while the backside fell by the side of a filling station—Fakinlayo Investment Nigeria Limited.
The fire from the tanker after the overhead bridge, then traced the diesel content which had spilled on the road and spread on, leading to a wide spread of fire within the area and even beyond.
In the process, another truck filled with biscuit, a Mazda bus and two trailers caught fire as the fire spread all over the area, affecting over 30 shops within the vicinity.
As of the time Metro visited the scene of the incident, men of the State Fire Service were busy quenching fire from the NIPCO tanker in the middle of the road.
It was also gathered that the Fire Service operators had exhausted three trucks while they kept on calling for reinforcements to finally quench the fire.
In addition, some traders— barbers, liquor sellers, beverages sellers, vulcanizers and other petty traders, who lost their all to the fire incident were seen picking remnants from the shops.
Also, men of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) were on ground to control traffic.
Most articulated vehicles plying the road were forced to take the other side of the road, while other tankers were kept at a distance in order not to risk uncontrolled situation.
One of the traders who spoke with Metro, Alhaja Mosunmola Adesina, who before the fire incident had three shops, informed that she lost all she had to the disaster.
Mrs Adesina informed that she lost documents of her three houses, one big generator, deep freezer and goods worth over N45,000 to the incident. She revealed that she brought the papers to her shop on Friday in an attempt to sell one of the houses.
The Iyaloja of Oremeji market, Mrs Grace Omotunde Bamgbade, called on the state government to help relocate tanker drivers who usually park on the highway.
The retired head teacher also used the occasion to invite representatives of the state government to pay a visit to the scene of the incident and confirm the level of destruction, while calling for financial assistance for traders who lost their valuables to the incident.
Ironically, some passersby used the opportunity to swoop on the burnt cartons of biscuits in one of the affected trucks, while some others also scooped wheat spilled on the ground from the other truck.