Motorists and commuters leaving Lagos were stuck in gridlock for several hours on Tuesday as a petrol-laden tanker was blocked at the Ibafo end of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and spilled its content.
It was gathered that the tanker was hit by a speeding truck, which made it to spill its content.
PUNCH Metro learnt that officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps, the Ogun State Police Command, the Ogun Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps and fire service personnel were on the ground to cordon off the area and prevent a fire outbreak.
However, the alternative route provided did not ease the gridlock as commuters were seen alighting from vehicles and trekking to their destinations.
A commuter, identified simply as Hassan, said the situation made many people to be apprehensive, adding that it was taking too long for it to be brought under control.
He said, “I spent about two and a half hours in the gridlock. Though I learnt that a trans-loading operation is ongoing, it is taking too long for the situation to be brought under control; people are already getting apprehensive about the situation. The traffic backlog has gone as far as the ‘Long Bridge’.
“I hope that those, who are ill, won’t start to pass out in the traffic. Vehicles are already breaking down due to overheating and some impatient drivers are already hitting other vehicles with theirs. The whole situation is a catastrophe.”
The Commander, FRSC, Mowe Unit Command, Oludare Ogunjobi, said the incident was as a result of impatience by drivers.
He said, “This incident happened because of the infraction of the tanker and other truck drivers. The two vehicles were going out of Lagos. Around the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries’ area where there is a diversion; the road is narrow and due to impatience; the truck that was supposed to queue behind the tanker was trying to overtake it. In the process, the truck brushed the tanker by the side and that was what caused the fuel spillage.
“What we are doing now is to make sure that we prevent any fire outbreak. Because the tanker is leaking, we have to trans-load the fuel to another tanker before the damaged tanker can be removed. Meanwhile, we have created a diversion for vehicles going out of Lagos. What is important is to ensure that there is no fire outbreak. The truck has been impounded at the FRSC, Mowe office and the driver has been arrested.”
The Public Relations Officer, TRACE, Mr Babatunde Akinbiyi, advised motorists making their way out of Lagos to seek alternative routes.
He stated, “The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas has arranged for another tanker for trans-loading. Traffic advisory has been issued that those who want to make their way out of Lagos should seek alternative routes, while those who are trapped on the road have been provided with an alternative route by Julius Berger.
“There is no free flow of traffic yet because of the backlog of traffic that has been there. With the joint operation of the officials on the ground, the road will be free soon. We thank God that no life was lost, which is very important. Everything that can be done with regards to safety has been put in place to ensure that no life or property is lost eventually.”