President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the death of 23 people in the Lokoja tanker explosion “represents another disturbing and saddening incident in the litany of tragedies that have befallen our country”.
The president said this in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, on Wednesday.
The accident claimed the lives of travellers, school children, bystanders and some students of Kogi State Polytechnic.
Buhari said he was seriously worried about the frequency of these unfortunate and large scale tragedies in the country which cause needless deaths.
The statement read: ”These frequent incidents that result in loss of lives and property are national scandal caused by our indifference to safety standards.
”Many accidents are preventable if proper proactive and precautionary measures are put in place or properly observed as routine policies.
”Ours is a country where we move on whenever tragedies occur instead of taking preventive safety measures to forestall future calamities.
“However, refusal to do the right thing can cause potential tragic problems that harm innocent people.”
The president, therefore, called on the county’s transport authorities, traffic and road management agencies as well as law enforcement officials to sit up and enforce safety standards with more seriousness.
According to him, Nigeria is not having a shortage of laws and regulations, but the nation’s problem is lack of zeal to enforce those laws and regulations for the sake of public safety.
He condoled with Kogi State government and the families of the victims of the tragedy.
The 33,000-litre tanker, which was laden with Premium Motor Spirit and belonged to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, was said to have suffered brake failure around 8am and rammed into five cars, two motorcycles and three tricycles, killing all the occupants.
A man from Okene was said to have lost six children to the inferno, while a family of five was wiped out in the accident that some referred to as the worst in the year so far.
The victims included five students of the Kogi State Polytechnic and three nursery pupils, who were on their way to school.
Also, pupils from the Baptist Academy, whose number had yet to be ascertained, were among those killed.
Also killed was a businessman, identified simply as Samson, alongside his wife and three children.