By Laleye Dipo in Minna
Three people were feared dead and eight others seriously injured in a tanker explosion that took place in Suleja, Niger state late on Friday night.
Nineteen other vehicles were burnt while 35 shops were gutted by fire caused by the explosion.
The incident occurred at the Dikko junction along the Abuja -Suleja – Kaduna expressway.
Most of the deceased were said to be traders plying their trade on both sides of the road while some of the burnt vehicles according to an eyewitness were caught in the traffic gridlock on the road.
The eyewitness said the driver was trying to negotiate the bend into the highway when he lost control resulting in the tanker laddened with fuel overturning and spilling its content on the road.
It was gathered that the content of the tanker (PMS) spilled on a naked fire which resulted in the explosion.
People ran helter skelter for their lives with some of them sustaining injuries as a result of the stampede.
Some of the injured were rushed to the Wuse general hospital for treatment, the eyewitness said
The Niger State Emergency Management Agency however confirmed the death of only one person saying the number of the injured could not be ascertained.
The Director General of the Agency Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmed Inga who confirmed the story said the incident occurred around 10:30 p.m. on Friday and that it also resulted in the burning of several vehicles.
” We received a report from our Suleja Desk Officer that there was a tanker explosion and many people were affected.
“We cannot give the actual number of people that lost their lives, we will confirm that during our assessment; but from the report of our Suleja Desk Officer, one person has been confirmed dead as a result of the incident.
“Many people were injured and several vehicles were completely burnt,” Inga said
He explained that firefighters from the State Fire Service in conjunction with their counterparts in the Federal Fire Service were able to bring the fire under control around 4:30 a.m. on Saturday morning.
Inga added that the corpse of the deceased had been deposited in the morgue at Umaru Musa Hospital, Sabon Wuse, while those injured were also receiving treatment at the same facility adding that officials of the Agency would visit the scene for an assessment.