A petrol tanker explosion has killed scores and razed over 100 houses in Agatu local government area of Benue state.
The Street Journal gathered that the tanker laden with premium motor spirit lost control as it headed from Oweto to Otukpo LGA, falling off at Oshigbadu/Obagaji junction. The incident reportedly left many residents in the area missing.
A source who spoke to Vanguard said, The whole thing happened suddenly and when the truck fell, the petrol spilt into people’s house and a nearby petrol station and there was a huge explosion.
“Many houses are presently on fire and most of those living in those houses did not escape because of the manner the accident happened.”
The Vice-Chairman of Agatu LGA, Mr, John Ikwulono, confirmed the incident which was said to have occurred at noon.
“It was a tanker explosion and over 100 houses in the community have been burnt down and many lives have lost been lost.
“Though we cannot place a figure on the number of deaths they are actually much. The truth is that the death toll will be massive because you know that in a house you might have up to 10 persons if not more than that.
“And the houses that were burnt down are more than 100. So in each of the houses, there must be a human being living or staying there. There is no way a house can be completely empty on a Sunday like this. So we have a huge crisis in our hands at the moment.
“We are calling on Non-Governmental Organizations, NGOs and public-spirited individuals, the State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA and National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA to come to the aid of the people.
“The survivors are presently homeless and have lost all their property. Food will also be an issue for them because without a house how do you get food to eat. We are faced with a big challenge. The injured need help and the dead have to be evacuated without delay, so it is a very serious situation for us at the moment.
“I have already started seeing some of the burnt corpses and non of them can be identified,” the Vice-Chairman said.
It was gathered that the closest fire station is situated in Otukpo which is about an hour and 30 minutes drive from the scene. This further created hitches in putting out the fire.
The State Fire Service Director, Engineer Donald Ikyaaza, also confirmed the incident but said the fire station in the capital was too far from the scene.