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5 burnt to death and 70 vehicles destroyed as multiple explosions rock Rivers



Five people were burnt to death and over 70 vehicles including heavy-duty trucks were destroyed following a multiple explosion at the Eleme section of the East-West Road, Rivers State.

According to an eyewitness who identified himself as Baridi, the incident that occurred on Friday night followed a petrol-laden tanker that collided with a heavy-duty truck, spilling its contents and bursting into flames.

He said the fire spread to a long stretch of vehicles plying the Akpajo-Onne Road following the gridlock which is a usual occurrence on the road now under construction.

Baridi said, “You know that because of the bad road, there is no alternative route so many vehicles were caught in the fire.

“Some people inside their vehicles who tried to escape the fire were trapped in the fire and died.”

A motorist driving on the road at the time identified as Precious said, “I was approaching Akpajo bridge when I saw a thick hold-up. While I and other drivers tried to move further we saw people running and shouting fire, fire.

“So it was difficult for me even to reverse my vehicle. We meandered and packed somewhere. Only for us to come back and see that more than 100 vehicles were burnt. There are people burnt in their vehicles and some people running were also caught in the inferno.”

He blamed the tragedy on the reconstruction of the road which, according to him, had worsened the gridlock.

“Yes they are working on the road which is good but they should also create access. Not the way they are doing it. First, they should be fast about it and secondly, the contractor should know that vehicles are using the road. Otherwise, this would not have happened,” he added.

Meanwhile confirming the casualties, the spokesperson for the State Police Command, Grace Iringe-Koko, told journalists on Saturday, that five people have been confirmed dead, adding that the Commissioner of Police, Olatunji Disu, and his team were on the ground last night to ensure there was no breakdown of law and order.

“For now about five persons are dead. The Commissioner of Police and his team were on the ground last night to ensure there is no breakdown of law and order,” he said.

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