Kogi Declares Two-day Mourning for Victims of Tanker Accident

  • State polytechnic declares three lecture-free days
  • Lawan, PDP mourn victims of incident

Deji Elumoye, Chuks Okocha in Abuja and Ibrahim Oyewale in Lokoja

The Kogi State Government has declared a two-day mourning in honour of the 28 victims of a tanker explosion, which occurred in Lokoja, the state capital, on Wednesday.

The Kogi State Polytechnic has also declared three lecture-free days to honour the victims, including students of the school, who lost their lives.

This is coming as the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmed Lawan, and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have commiserated with the victims and their families over the unfortunate disaster.

In a statement issued yesterday, the Kogi Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr. Kingsley Fanwo, said: “The Governor and the Government of Kogi State are saddened by the unfortunate incident that claimed many lives in the early hours of today.

“The people are the State. Therefore, the primary responsibility of the Government is to ensure the safety and well-being of the Kogi people.

“As a result of the importance placed on the lives of our people, the Government has declared a two-day state mourning to honor the departed souls.

“In this time of grief, we urge the people to be deep in sober reflection and stand together for one another to pull out of the agonising loss,” the statement read in part.

The tanker explosion, which occurred in the Felele area of Lokoja, along the Lokoja/Abuja Highway had initially claimed 23 lives, but the death toll reportedly rose to 28 yesterday.

The state government has called on road users to act responsibly in order to avert unfortunate situations that care and caution could have averted.

It has also promised to carry out full investigations to determine the causes of the incident.

Meanwhile, following the incident, which claimed the lives of some students of the Kogi State Polytechnic, the school has declared September 23, 24 and 25 as lecture-free days.

This was contained on a statement issued yesterday by the Head of the school’s Public Relations, Mrs. Uredo Omale, which was made available to journalists in Lokoja.

“The stakeholders which comprise the Principal Officers, Deans, Directors, the Chief Security Officer, the Public Relations Officer and Student Union Leaders, also resolved that normal academic activities are to continue on Monday, 28th September, 2020.

“A vital decision at the meeting was the setting up of a committee to do a careful and thorough identity check of members of staff and students affected by the inferno with the view to ascertaining the nature and level of damage done to them.

“The Committee, chaired by the Dean, School of Art, Design and Printing, Mr. Pedro Peter Akande, immediately swung into action, and has so far reported that three members of staff sustained injuries in the incident,” the statement added .

In a related development, the President of the Senate, Lawan, has commiserated with Governor Yahaya Bello and people of the state over the loss of lives to the tanker explosion.

He also sent his condolences to the families of victims of the explosion.

Lawan, in a condolence message issued yesterday, expressed grief over the gruesome accident in which more than a score of people, including school children, were reported to have lost their lives or property.

“It is sad and totally unacceptable that such tragedy keeps recurring on our roads despite ample road safety regulations and enforcement personnel.

“While we mourn those who have so unfortunately lost their lives and pray for the speedy recovery of those who are injured, the incident underscores the need for constant review of our road safety strategy and mechanism with a view to making them more effective in preventing carnage on our roads”.

PDP has also expressed shock over the accident.

The PDP said that it is extremely distressed by this horrid and traumatising incident, which cut short the lives of hardworking Nigerians and brought instant anguish to families.

The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said: “It is even more disturbing that the fire raged without any intervention by authorities, which would have helped mitigate the effect.

“Indeed, the absence of fire and other emergency facilities around the area, despite the frequent occurrence of such accidents in the past signposts the failure and insensitivity of both the federal and Kogi State governments towards the dangers that daily confront the people.”

The PDP also lamented that the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Lokoja, had been under lock over a needless controversy on COVID-19.

The party expressed shock that the Kogi State Deputy Governor, Mr. Edward Onoja, dwelt on excuses when he visited the scene of the accident.

The PDP demanded the federal government to put instant traffic measures that would forestall such accidents and also established emergency facilities in the area.