Fred Itua, Abuja
Senate, yesterday, decried the killing of over 50 people in Benue State, following explosion of a petrol tanker in Gwer East Local Government Area.
In a motion sponsored by Emmanuel Oker-Jev, titled: “Benue tanker explosion: urgent need to curb incessant explosions of petroleum tankers in Nigeria,” senate blamed the incident on a portion of a federal road.
Oker-Jev, in his lead debate, revealed that over 100 people who sustained different degrees of injuries are battling for survival in various hospitals across the state.
He urged the Federal Government to release funds for dualisation of the Keffi-Lafia-Makurdi-Enugu Road, where the incident happened.
The upper legislative chamber also called on the management of the National Emergency Management Agency to quickly assist affected families.
The Federal Ministry of Health was also urged to intervene and help the victims undergoing medical attention in different hospitals.
Senate is expected to constitute an ad-hoc committee to liaise with relevant agencies, organisations and stakeholders, to identify the remote and immediate cause of incessant petroleum tanker explosions in Nigeria. The committee, when constituted, will come up with sustainable solutions and report back to the senate within eight weeks.
In his contribution, the Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu, called for ban of underage truck drivers across major highways in the country.
Kalu recalled how, as governor of Abia State, he intercepted a truck operated by a 16-year-old boy. He also revealed how he had to stop him and added that if relevant government agencies can step up and ban this category of truck drivers, there would be more safety on our federal highways.
“As governor of Abia state, I had to intervene and stop a 16-year old teenage boy who was operating a petrol truck. I also ensured that people of his age were not allowed to drive there. If we can stop this and ensure that they are taken away from our highways, there will be more safety. Some of them are too young and they lose control at any slight chance. This is not good for us,” Kalu said.