From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
One person, allegedly living under a flyover at Oremeji, on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, died yesterday, in a road crash which left 18 vehicles and over 10 shops burnt.
A truck, loaded with wheat and biscuits, was said to have collided and caught fire, with another truck laden with diesel, coming from Lagos to Ibadan at about 6:40am, yesterday.
It was gathered that the driver of the articulated truck, with number JGW 418 XA, carrying wheat and biscuits, reportedly lost control of the vehicle and rammed into a moving diesel tanker in front. The tanker was said to have skidded off the road, fell and caught fire.
While the fuel tanker was burning, vehicles within the range were also engulfed by the raging inferno.
A visit to the scene of the incident showed that the affected shops were beside the highway, while the burnt vehicles included five articulated vehicles, two Nissan Micra, used for taxi and two commercial buses. Also, a truck loaded with cements and shops with fabrics and drinks, phones were burnt.
The accident, however, caused gridlock on the highway while a combined team of police, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) controlled the traffic.
The situation led to gridlock which lasted for more than five hours on the both side of the highway. Many commuters either sought alternative routes to their destinations or disembarked from their vehicles.
Meanwhile, Oyo State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Adekunle Ajisebutu, who confirmed the incident, said: “Immediately we were alerted of the accident, we contacted the fire service. But for the quick intervention of the fire service, the havoc wreaked could have be worse. We drafted policemen to the scene and the report we got was that 10 vehicles and several shops were burnt.”
Narrating how the incident occurred, Mr. Michael Adetunji, who was at Ore-Meji Bus Stop said he would have been a victim, but he decided to take a taxi instead of driving.
“I was waiting for a taxi when the wheat truck ran into the truck loaded with fuel. The tanker fell and somersaulted several times immediately as the driver was making attempt to avoid the imminent collision. There was a huge fire immediately and some vehicles were caught in the inferno. I saw a dead body.”
A resident of Oremeji, Alhaji Kehinde Abass, said: “We were in the house when we started hearing noise of fire and we came out and saw a huge fire. But, we were helpless and ran for our safety, too. If the truck had carried petrol and not the diesel, the situation could have been more than this.”
Also, an owner of one of the burnt shops, who declined to be named, said the liquor and other goods valued at over N200,000 got burnt in his shop. “I received a call very early that my shop was burning. Before I could get there, goods worths over N200,000 had been burnt.”