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Wreckage of cars and the petrol tanker that exploded in Lokoja

Fuel tanker crash kills 23, Kogi declare 2-day mourning

No less than 23 people have lost their lives in an explosion that occurred after a petrol tanker overturned and caught fire on a busy road in Lokoja, the Kogi state capital.

The petrol tanker reportedly lost control and collided with five cars, three tricycles and two motorcycles on the Lokoja-Abuja highway on Wednesday.

It thereafter fell on one of the five cars which contained a family, and crushed them to death before exploding in thick flames.

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The death of 23 persons in the disaster was confirmed by the Kogi State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corp Idris Fika Ali. One child was said to have survived with injuries.

A spokesman for the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Bisi Kazeem, said nine children were involved in the accident, which happened opposite a petrol station along the highway. In fact, majority of the victims of the explosion, which occurred in the Felele area of Lokoja were schoolchildren and students of the state-owned polytechnic.

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Onlookers at the scene of the Lokoja explosion, with victims bodies on the ground

In a statement acknowledging the incident and commiserating with the people of Kogi state, President Muhammadu Buhari said, “The death of 23 people as confirmed by the Federal Road Safety Commission, represents another disturbing and saddening incident in the litany of tragedies that have befallen our country.”

“I am seriously worried about the frequency of these unfortunate and large scale tragedies in the country which cause needless deaths,” he added.

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Wreckage of cars and the petrol tanker that exploded in Lokoja

Meanwhile, in honor of the victims of the Lokoja petrol tanker explosion, the Government of Kogi State has declared a two-day mourning in the state.

This was made public by the Kogi Commissioner for Information and Communication, Kingsley Fanwo, in a statement he released on Thursday.

Fanwo said, “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.

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“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 agonizing loss.

“The government wishes to reiterate her call on road users to act responsibly in order to avert unfortunate situations that simple care and caution could have averted. Full investigations will also be carried out to determine the cause of the painful incident.

“The Kogi State Government wishes to assure families that lost loved ones and those whose houses were affected, of support at this trying moment. We also call on relevant Federal Government agencies to provide relief materials to support what the State Government shall be providing.

“Our hearts are with the affected families. May the souls of the departed rest in peace.”

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