Tragedy struck on Friday in Tegina, Rafi Local Government area of Niger State when about 17 persons were feared dead, following an accident that involved a fuel-laden truck.
According to VOTS9JA SOURCE, Scores of other people were also said to have sustained varying degrees of burns in the inferno that followed the accident and were rushed to hospitals for treatment, while a yet to be ascertained number of houses and commercial outlets near the road were also engulfed in the ensuing fire.
Trouble was said to have started at about 8.30 a.m. when the driver of the truck, said to be coming from Lagos and heading towards Kaduna, allegedly lost control of the vehicle. This consequently led to the crash of the articulated vehicle. The fuel in the tanker in the process poured on the vehicles.
Another account of the incident had it that the petrol tanker lost control of the vehicle and rammed into some residential buildings near the scene of the crash, resulting in fire outbreak.
According to sources who spoke to our reporter on condition of anonymity, most of those who lost their lives were those trapped in the buildings and others who were selling their wares by the roadside.
The sources added that eight houses were completely burnt, while properties valued at several millions of naira, including vehicles travelling or packed by the road were also destroyed.
The situation was said to have caused pandemonium in the town as people ran helter-skelter, while the intervention of some travellers prevented the fire from spreading to other parts of the town.
Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Niger State Police Command, DSP Bala Elkana, when contacted, confirmed the incident, saying the deceased were given a mass burial in the town because they were burnt beyond recognition.
Elkana stated this in a chat with our reporter in Minna, the state capital, just as he advised those whose loved ones are missing to find out from the police station in Tegina