Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The death toll in the Ahumbe tanker fire which occurred on July 1, 2019 in Gwer East Local government area of Benue State has risen to 60, the Sector Commander of Federal Road Safety Corps in charge of Benue State, Aliyu Baba has said.
Baba who stated this when he led a delegation to pay a courtesy call on Governor Samuel Ortom at the Government House in Makurdi, disclosed that between Wednesday and Thursday morning, 11 more victims who were receiving treatment at the various designated hospitals in the state died, bringing the number of deaths to 60 as at Thursday morning.
The FRSC Sector Commander condoled the governor over the tanker fire incident maintaining that the crash had exposed the logistics needs of the corps such as ambulances to convey victims during rescue operations.
Baba who recalled that pick up vans were used to evacuate victims from the explosion scene to the hospital instead of ambulances, urged the governor to assist in providing two ambulances for the FRSC in the state.
Responding, Governor Ortom who regretted the high number of casualty from the explosion, warned people against rushing to get free things, stressing that the repercussions of such escapades are usually grave.
“We should be wary to rush to get things that are free. People should work with their hands. There are several opportunities in Benue and the land is arable enough for everyone to tap.
Ortom who noted that it was the second time in his tenure that tanker explosion was claiming lives in the state, prayed God that such will not happen again even as he advised the people against trying to scoop free fuel from fallen fuel tankers.
“Especially for tankers, whenever there is an accident, don’t even go near it, instead, run away from it as far as you can because the result can be very devastating to everyone.
“We lost two fire service officers in the course of trying to put out the fire. You can imagine the pain. People shouldn’t rush towards fire accidents; they should allow professionals to take over.
“You can imagine losing 60 people at once. Many are still in hospitals and those who survive in the end will live with the scare for life and some of them even deformed.”
He commended the FRSC and other security agencies for their prompt response to the fire incidence and urged corporate organizations, well-meaning Nigerians and the society at large to always support security agencies in the areas of logistics.