By Folasade Adeniran
Lagos – The Lagos State Government on Sunday gave a 30-day ultimatum to all articulated vehicles coming into the state to obtain the Ministry of Transportation (MOT) certificate of road worthiness or face sanctions.
The state government also directed fuel tanker drivers to henceforth ply the designated trailer route -Apapa/Oworonshoki expressway via Ogudu to the Lagos/Ibadan expressway.
The Commissioner for Transportation, Mr Ladi Lawanson, gave the directive at a news conference in Alausa, Ikeja, alongside members of NUPENG and the Container Truck Association of Nigeria on development arising from the fuel tanker explosion on Thursday.
Lawanson said that 10 operational centres had been designated to process applications immediately, while new centres would be established quickly on the the Lagos/Ibadan expressway to cope with the expected demand for the service.
He said the centres include: Berger Ojodu, Odogunyan Ikorodu, Agric/Ishawo Road, Ikorodu, Worksyard, PWD, Shogunle, NCI Gbagada, VIS Yard, Oko-Afo, Badagry, VIS Yard, Ayobo in Ipaja, Test Centre in Badagry, VIS Yard, Epe and VIS Yard, Oko-Oba Abbatoir.
Lawanson said that government would embark on awareness campaign to persuade all vehicle owners to obtain MOT road worthiness certificate.
“We hereby call on motorists and the general public to join hands with us to prevent avoidable deaths due to the presence of vehicles unfit to ply the roads.
“Let us protect each other by asking our friends to save lives by obtaining their road worthiness certificates, ‘’ he said.
Lawanson said that the state government in 2017 upgraded vehicle testing operations and launched the Computerised Vehicle Inspection Centres to ensure that vehicles which ply the roads and highways were road worthy.
“This measure recorded positive results. Between April 1, 2017 and May 2018, a total of 178, 267 vehicles were tested,’’ he said.
Lawanson said that investigation conducted so far by the state government indicated that the truck involved in the explosion NSR 888 YC, was registered in Kano State and had changed ownership 13 times since purchase.
“This truck was designed as a 14,959kg, approximately 15 tonnes drilling rig with low bed but was converted in Nigeria from a drilling rig to fuel carrier to carry 30 tonnes.
“From this preliminary investigation, the truck should not have been loaded to the weight of 30 tonnes, which is twice its pulling capacity,’’ he said.
Lawanson said that further investigation into the current ownership of the fuel tanker and other related details was progressing.
He said that facts obtained in the course of investigation had compelled the review of the legal, economic and social framework of the current management of traffic involving tankers loaded with fuel and other cargoes within the state.
Lawanson said that the government was also exploring alternative modes of transportation of petroleum products to separate passenger traffic from cargo movement within the metropolis in the interest of public safety.
The South West Chairman of NUPENG, Mr Tayo Aboyeji, while commiserating with the victims’ families, said that the union was in support of the government to put an end to tanker accidents in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the fuel tanker explosion at the Otedola Bridge inward Ojodu Berger on Lagos-Ibadan expressway, left about 54 vehicles burnt, nine people dead and an unspecified number of people sustained various degrees of injuries.