Five students of the Kogi State Polytechnic (KSP) Lokoja, three nursery school pupils and 15 others, on Wednesday, lost their lives in a road crash, in Lokoja, Kogi State.
The accident involving a petrol tanker conveying premium motor spirit (PMS) happened around 8.30am in Felele, along the Lokoja-Abuja highway.
The fuel laden tanker belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was said to have had brake failure, and rammed into five cars, two motorcycles and three tricycles, as it hurtled down the road, killing the occupants. The tanker later burst into flames.
The casualties, including five students of the state-owned polytechnic, three nursery school pupils and passersby were burnt beyond recognition.
Others who lost their lives include a business man simply identified as Samson, his wife and three children.
He was said to be dealing in sewing machines in Lokoja, and was on his way to drop off the children at school.
An account had it that the driver of the ill-fated tanker tried to manoeuvre the vehicle, but it fell on its side.
The tanker driver was said to have made frantic signals with the hand, warning other motorists to steer clear, but for some, it was too late.
Men of the Federal Roads Safety Corps (FRSC), who arrived around 10am, came along with an ambulance to evacuate the corpses.
The FRSC sector commander, Idris Fika Ali said 23 people were killed in the explosion, while a minor escaped with injuries.
Governor Yahaya Bello expressed shock over the explosion.
The governor in statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Onogwu Mohammed expressed sadness over the loss of lives and property, and urged students of the state polytechnic to remain calm.
The statement read: “Governor Bello is very sad to learn of the tragic loss of lives, many vehicles, property and other valuables in the petrol tanker fire and expresses his deep condolences to the family of those affected.
“This is sadly the greatest tragedy the state has witnessed in recent times. The unfortunate accident is a sad development and he shares the feeling of those who lost their loved ones.
“The governor also urged the students of the Kogi State Polytechnic to remain calm and peaceful, and that he equally shares in their grieving moment over the death of some of their colleagues in the disaster.”