Eyewitnesses of the fire disaster in Iyana-Ipaja area of Lagos State caused by a petrol tanker have blamed officials of the Lagos State Transport Management Authority, LASTMA, for causing the accident.
The LASTMA officials were said to have been in pursuit of the tanker when it toppled over the bridge at Iyana-Ipaja spilling its contents and resulting in a huge inferno that injured 14 persons and destroyed 34 buildings, 44 shops and 21 vehicles.
Residents also faulted the government for failing to renovate the bridge which, according to them, has been structurally compromised. They said the nearly 40-year-old bridge had become weak since an auto crash which occurred about 15 years ago.
The residents blamed the incident on unidentified officials of LASTMA, who were alleged to been chasing the tanker driver before the incident occurred around 12.30am.
Meanwhile, officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, on Wednesday, June 3, 2015 revisited the scene again to carry out an assessment of the victims as ordered by the state governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode.
The incident happened around 1a.m on Tuesday when the tanker which was moving from Agege end of the road lost control and fell off the bridge on getting to Ipaja Road, spilling its content which spread to five adjourning streets on the axis.
Those affected were still counting their losses hoping that the state government would come to their aid as promised.
Speaking to the Vanguard one of the victims, Mr. Emmanuel Chime, who lost a supermarket to the inferno, lamented that about N15m worth of goods were lost to the fire.
Another victim, Obinna Ojiakor, a boutique owner, said he lost about N10m worth of goods to the inferno.
The record company owner, Remi Odus said, “LASEMA officials were here today (Wednesday) and they have done the enumeration of the victims, we hope they will live up to our expectation.”
This may be the reason why Governor Ambode issued a directive on Wednesday that LASTMA, Keep Against indiscipline (KAI) and Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO) officials in Lagos were to desist from forcibly arresting vehicles in motion, charging them to use technology to find a better way to carry out their duties