At least nine commuters were feared dead on Thursday evening when they were cut up in a hale of fire billowing from a petrol tanker that fell and spilt its content on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, resulting in an inferno that also burnt 54 vehicles.
The accident, which happened at the notorious Otedola Estate junction of the highway, resulted in heavy traffic gridlock.
Spokesman of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Bisi Kazeem, who confirmed that 54 vehicles were cut up in the inferno said that 45 cars, five buses, two trucks, INEC tricycle and the tanker were caught up in the inferno.
The FRSC also said in its update that nine victims were burnt beyond recognition while four other persons sustained serious injuries.
Kazeem said that a Joint rescue operation involving FRSC, LASEMA, NPF, RRS, NSCDC, Lagos State Fire service, LASTMA was mounted promptly within 10 minutes of the accident.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed shock and sorrow over the incident in Lagos where many people are feared killed with several vehicles burnt.
The President made his feelings known in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu on Thursday in Abuja.
“I’m very sad to learn of the tragic loss of lives, tens of vehicles, property and other valuables in the petrol tanker fire,’ said President Buhari in reaction to the early reports reaching him concerning the incident.
He expressed his deepest condolences to the government and people of Lagos over the tragic incident.
He said: “Sadly, this seems to be one of the greatest tragedies we have seen in recent times.”
The President urged the emergency services and law enforcement officials to do their best to limit the losses and damage from the incident.
According to him, the priority now should be to ensure the survival of those people who could still be in danger.
Also, the Lagos State Government commiserated with families of victims who lost their lives and property in a fatal tanker explosion on the Otedola Bridge, inward Ojodu Berger area of the state.
The Government, in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Kehinde Bamigbetan, described the incident as a sad development, saying that the incident was most unfortunate and regrettable.
“On behalf of the Lagos State Government, we extend our deepest commiseration to the families of persons who lost their lives as well as properties to the incident.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with them in this time of pain and grief.
“As a government, we would not relent in putting measures in place to ensure the safety of lives and property of all residents,” Bamigbetan said.
The commissioner said that Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode had directed all relevant agencies to move into the area to normalise the apprehension that had taken over the area and to also ensure that those in need are adequately taken care of.
The governor assured that clearing of the highway of damaged vehicles to establish normal traffic flow would continue throughout the night until the objective is achieved.