Barely, three days after the petrol tanker explosion that wreaked havoc in Ojuelegba, Surulere Local Government Area, Lagos State Government, yesterday, revealed how a cigarette stub from a yet to be apprehended smoker ignited the fallen fuel tanker that spilled its contents.
This came even as Lagos State Government reassured residents of the readiness of the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode-led administration to ensure the Yuletide season is devoid of traffic gridlock and criminal activities across the metropolis.
The tanker laden with 33, litres of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, which exploded after spilling its contents on the road at about 2 am last Saturday, razed over five cars and buildings built along the canal.
The Commissioner for Special Duties and Intergovernmental relations, Mr. Oluseye Oladejo and his Information and Strategy counterpart, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni. who was represented by Chief Superintendent of Police, Waidi Ayilara and other agencies, disclosed this at a joint media briefing to address various issues concerning safety and protection of citizenry during and after the Yuletide period.
Oladejo lamented that the danger of indiscriminate dropping of cigarette stubs or fireworks, especially at this period poses a great challenge and could lead to fire outbreaks.
He said, “An example of this threat was the recent Ojuelegba tanker accident, where someone reportedly dropped the left-over of a cigarette into a canal where the spilled content spread to which ignited the fire. This was immediately combated by the State fire service and other responders.”
Oladejo, said law enforcement agencies have commenced operations to apprehend the suspect for prosecution, according to the state laws. He said that worried by the inherent danger of indiscriminate dumping of cigarette stubs across the state, government would not hesitate to enforce the existing law banning public smoking. Oladejo, therefore, warned residents not to test the will of the state government, noting that violating laws is not acceptable.
“The anti-smoking law 2014, volume 47, carries a fine of N10, 000 to N15, 000 or a month to three months imprisonment as deemed by the court. While the owners/occupiers of the smoking areas shall be liable to a fine of N100, 000 or six months as deemed by the judge. Smoking in non-designated areas violates this law,” he reaffirmed.
Oladejo, said government was concerned about the menace which petrol tankers and other articulated vehicles have become on Lagos roads, as well as the incessant fire incidents and needless road traffic and accidents which have led to loss of lives and properties. Therefore, he said the state government has put adequate measures in place to ensure that residents go about their activities with much ease during the festive period including total enforcement of the traffic and safety laws.
According to Oladejo, “It is not enough to have safety regulations, they must be enforced and complied with to prevent avoidable loss of lives, properties and injuries. “As a government which cares about the safety of lives and properties, nothing short of strict adherence to safety rules will be acceptable, relevant provisions of the law will be applied against erring individuals and organisa-tions,” he said.
He stressed that the provision of the Traffic Law 2012 which prohibits tankers from plying within the hours of 6am-9pm daily would be totally enforced, warning that according to the law, defaul-ters risk a fine of N50,000 or a six month prison sentence. Oladejo said the law also specifies punitive measures for persons who drive in a reckless manner without reasonable consideration for others, driving above the speed limit on highways or driving unlatched container-ized vehicles.
Enforcement offireworks ban
The commissioner also stressed the readiness of the government to enforce the ban on the use of fireworks popularly known as “Banger” due to the potential hazard of the device to the people and the environment. He recalled the December 26, 2012 fire outbreak caused by storage of fireworks in Lagos Island which led to loss of lives and properties worth millions of naira.
Oladejo said the danger associated with the dropping of cigarette stubs or fireworks indiscriminately, especially at this period of harmattan pose a great challenge which could lead to fire outbreak.
He also urged residents to be vigilant especially when in a large gathering such as religious programmes, carnivals, clubs, event centres and restaurant, however, assured residents that the state remains safe and secure for people living and doing legitimate business in the state.
Oladejo, however, appealed to religious bodies, club owners and event centres to work with the state government and security agencies to monitor activities around them and report suspicious and unusual activities during such gathering that may compromise security of lives and properties.
According to him, “For the record, the officials of the State fire service and LASEMA and other responders have effectively responded to over 42 emergency calls through the toll free lines in the first week of December. “Of this, 15 distress calls were responded to on Monday while a total of over 1, 667 emergency calls have been responded to from January 1st till date.
“It is also estimated that over N98.28 billion of properties were salvaged, while about N16.38 billion worth of properties were lost to various fire incidents,” he added. Owoseni said: “The state cannot have 100 percent crime free. But we will ensure that we bring it down to the minimum. The command is not resting on its oars.” Commander, Rapid Respon-se Squad (RRS), Olatunji Disu said that the all laws in the state would be enforced head-on.
Source: Vanguard Nigeria