Why Gov Obaseki, Okowa Are Being Blamed for Petrol Tanker Explosion That Killed Scores
Gov Obaseki, Okowa

Why Gov Obaseki, Okowa Are Being Blamed For Petrol Tanker Explosion That Killed Nigerians

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After a petrol tanker fell and exploded at Koko junction along Sapele-Warri-Benin expressway, the Governors of Edo and Delta States, while commiserating with the victims, blamed the deaths and destruction of vehicles and properties on the Federal Government for not maintaining the Benin-Warri highway and this particular failed portion.

After the petrol-laden truck fell and spilled its contents on Sunday morning, residents gathered to scoop petrol. A spark from a faulty vehicle in the vicinity caused the explosion which led to no fewer than 20 persons being charred. Eyewitness account has it that a pregnant woman, children, and some elderly persons were among the dead.

The deplorable state of the expressway at Koko junction and neighbouring Ologbo, both border towns between Edo and Delta. Virtually every other day, vehicles, particularly articulated ones, fall freely thereby creating deep craters that most times swallow smaller cars. Motorists spend hours, trapped in the traffic gridlock that characterized the areas

The latest tragedy has now been blamed on Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State as well as the immediate past helmsman of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa for failing to fix the failed portion of the expressway. A rights group, Vanguard for Transparent Leadership and Democracy (VATLAD) made this known to Prime Business Africa on Monday.

Speaking with our correspondent, VATLAD’s national president, Comrade Igbini Odafe said, “Governors Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and the immediate past Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State are to blame the more for this avoidable and sad loss of precious lives at the Ologbo-Ugbenu Axis rather than the Federal Government that has hundreds of similar failed sections of roads across the country to attend to.

“While it is true that the Benin-Warri Expressway is constitutionally the responsibility of the Federal Government but it is also a fact that this does not bar the Delta and Edo State Governments from intervening to fix this failed section of this road and other similar roads in their States.

“What is even a fact is that former Governors Uduaghan Emmanuel and Adams Oshiomole during their tenures took up the responsibility of maintaining or rehabilitating this road and other Trunk A Roads in their States for the sole reason to prevent loss of precious lives and properties. As the then Director General of Delta State Direct Labour Agency, (DLA) with the Directive of then Governor Uduaghan, DLA and other Contractors maintained and rehabilitated failed sections of this road and other Federal Roads in Delta State.

“What’s more! It is a fact that this Ologbo-Ugbenu section of the Warri-Benin Road began to collapse again far back four to five years ago with Commuters and members of the Communities crying out daily to the Federal, Edo and Delta State Government for urgent interventions to save their lives. But rather than heed the calls, both then Governors of Edo and Delta State insisted it is the responsibility of the Federal Government, the same argument regrettably restated yesterday by governors of Edo and Delta States.

“They both must be reminded that their primary constitutional duty is the safety and security of people living in and transiting through their States; regular maintenance of all roads in their States is part of this constitutional duty.”

Odafe further pointed out that the Federal Government runs the policy of reimbursing State Governments that embark on maintenance or rehabilitation of Federal Roads in their States, stressing that Edo and Delta State governments have benefited from such refunds.

“So, there is no justification for them to allow these deaths of precious lives on any Federal road in their respective States,” the activist asserted.

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