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Chuks Udo Okonta
The out-going President of Risk Managers Society of Nigeria (RIMSON), Engr. Jacob Adeosun, has expressed concern over the unabated accidents involving petroleum Products (liquid & gas) Tanker Trucks and implored the Federal Government to come out with far-reaching measures to stem the menace.
A statement by RIMSON’s Media Consultant, Joseph Obah, stated that Adeosun, a Chemical Engineer and Certified Risk Management Professional, called for prompt and decisive action by the Federal Government in addressing the catastrophic disasters periodically inflicted on Nigerians whenever the petrol tanker accidents occur.
Appalled by the spate of the petrol tanker disasters, Adeosun wants the Federal Government to take a bold risk management initiative to decisively deal with the realities which have continued to defy logical reasoning on why the ugly trend has not received adequate mitigating attention.
“The disasters seem unending. The developments are worrisome, especially on account of the irreplaceable loss of innocent lives, the innocent injured who may remain deformed for life and many who are suddenly stripped of their livelihoods as a result of the loss of their hard-earned properties ( houses, shops, vehicles etc) .The release further stated that “many of the victims would never recover from the colossal losses in the absence of any viable and effective compensation scheme,” he said.
He remarked that it is pertinent to examine existing reports of petrol tanker accidents and their attendant collateral damage and fatalities, stressing that most recent incident is the Onitsha Tanker fire of 16 October, 2019 which reportedly destroyed 40 houses and 500 shops, worsened by avoidable deaths and injuries.
The Upper Iweka Onitsha incident, he said according to reports was followed by another tanker explosion which destroyed buildings, vehicles and other valuables along the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway on 18 October, 2019. “In retrospect, we cannot forget the June 27, 2018 mayhem caused by the petrol tanker lorry explosion on the Otedola Bridge on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway which reportedly killed 12 persons and annihilated over 50 vehicles in the inferno. September 10, 2018 witnessed another horrific gas tanker explosion at a petrol station along the Lafia Makurdi Road in Nassarawa State, recording 35 fatalities and over 100 injured,” he added.
The out-going President took a critical look at the petrol tanker mishaps, stating that since it is impossible to eliminate petroleum products tanker incidents, it would however be prudent and responsive for government to initiate new measures especially for the innocent victims of these horrendous disasters.
In his view the new measures with humanitarian perspectives, will go beyond merely lamenting these incidents by taking steps which will address the sufferings of victims. Adeosun posited that his recommendations would not dwell on loss control and accident prevention measures which a number of the Roads and Petroleum Industry Enforcement Agencies are already addressing.
Proffering solutions, he recommended that the Federal Government should initiate a new recovery or compensation empowerment of innocent victims of petrol tanker fires and explosions through insurance or any other system.
That the existing compulsory Third Party Motor insurance is totally unrealistic for the scale of the destruction visited on victims by these incidents. Therefore support from state governments would be an option but this also is fraught with the problem of adding to the plights of the already overburdened governments struggling with payment of salaries.
Continuing he also noted that in light of 2 above, the new RIMSON Executive led by Raymond Akalonu should liaise with appropriate industry stakeholders like the Nigeria Insurers Association and Government Agencies to undertake the design of a new responsive insurance solution, sinking fund or other viable alternative that will provide adequate care, recovery and restoration of innocent victims of petroleum products tanker disasters in Nigeria.