President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has called for increased highway patrols to curb similar road traffic accidents after a fatal fuel tanker explosion occurred in central Nigeria on Wednesday.

Police in Kogi state told Xinhua on Wednesday at least 23 people, including students, were killed after an Abuja-bound fuel tanker had a brake failure and hit the ground at a spot close to the Felele area of Lokoja, the state capital of Kogi.

The tanker immediately exploded, igniting at least two motorcycles, five cars, and three tricycles.

Buhari said in a statement later on Wednesday that the tanker explosion “represents another disturbing and saddening incident” in the country, adding he is “seriously worried about the frequency of these unfortunate and large-scale tragedies in the country which cause needless deaths”.

Recent days have seen several deadly road accidents in Nigeria. At least 22 persons were killed after a passenger bus fell into a river in the Ivo district of Ebonyi state in Nigeria’s southeast region on Friday.

Eight people were also burned beyond recognition when a bus went aflame following an accident in the Ogun state in Nigeria’s southwest region.

“These frequent incidents that result in loss of lives and property are a national scandal caused by our indifference to safety standards,” Buhari said in the statement.

He said many accidents are preventable if proper proactive and precautionary measures are put in place or properly observed as routine policies.

The president called on the county’s transport authorities, traffic and road management agencies as well as law enforcement officials to sit up and enforce safety standards with more seriousness.

“Nigeria is not having a shortage of laws and regulations, but the nation’s problem is a lack of zeal to enforce those laws and regulations for the sake of public safety,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), an organization advocating for road safety, said the corps would sustain preventive measures to avoid road incidents.

Boboye Oyeyemi, the organization’s chairman, told media on Wednesday the corps would increase its mobilization of stakeholders, including re-certification and training of tanker drivers to prevent future recurrence.

Deadly road accidents are frequently reported in Nigeria often caused by overloading, bad condition of roads, and reckless driving.

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