On Thursday afternoon, while ferrying passengers in his 18-seater bus from Lagos to the Mowe/Ibafo area of neighbouring Ogun, a bigger worry was added to Olaitan’s growing list.
A speeding tanker laden with around 33, 000 litres of Premium Motor Spirit lost control suddenly fell a few metres away from Otedola Bridge, a popular axis along the Lagos/Ibadan Expressway, spilling its content all over the place and bursting into flames shortly afterwards.
The 41-year-old whose commercial bus was directly behind the ill-fated tanker, the moment brought a glimpse of perhaps what the end of the world would look like.
A Punch correspondent, who was at the Trauma and Burns wing of the Gbagada General Hospital where he and a handful other victims of the tragedy are being treated, went in with the party after posing to security men as his relative.
“I saw darkness everywhere immediately the tanker exploded,” he said while speaking with Saturday PUNCH on Friday on his hospital bed where yards of bandages now strapped him like an armour. “I thought I was going to die. It was as if the end had come. There was commotion everywhere, just like in a war. Nothing else came to my mind. We all believed it was the end,” he added soberly as he narrated his ordeal to his teary-eyed wife – Faidat – and other family members, who had come to check on him on Friday morning.
While attributing his narrow escape to divine grace, the Ile-Ife indigene said that for a few minutes after the tanker fell, he and others in the vehicle were confused as to what to do. He revealed that it was while it was being argued that the content of the truck was diesel or petrol that the entire place erupted in flames. According to him, after being briefly knocked out by the sound of the explosion, he managed to regain consciousness and enough strength to force his way out of the bus through the front passenger seat. But even after exiting the vehicle, his fears were far from over.
“I jumped into a gutter full of dirty water immediately I forced my way out of the bus,” he said, slowly adjusting his sitting position on the bed. “I had hoped to use the water to quench the fire on my body but unknown to me the water had already mixed with the petrol that had spilled from the tanker. That compounded my problem. While I was struggling to quench the fire on my body, I did not know that my head was burning. I managed to run across the road and into an uncompleted building where people around helped me put out the fire. That was my saving grace, otherwise only God knows what would have happened to me,” he stated.
Revealing how the tragedy and her husband’s present condition had affected their life as a family, Faidat told Saturday PUNCH that things had not remained the same since Thursday. According to her, they had expended almost all the money on them in trying to save his life.
“This tragedy has completely changed our life as a family,” she began. “The thought of him lying in the hospital and battling for survival has left us restless.
“My husband usually does not go out on Thursdays. No matter how much you offer him, he would not go to work on that day. But he went out to work that day because he was arrested by LASTMA operatives on Monday and he used all the money he realised to settle them. He had no money on him and that was why he decided to go out on Thursday to work.
Like the rest of the victims affected by Thursday’s deadly inferno, Mr. Wasiu Amoo had no inkling of what laid in wait for him when he left his home at Ibafo for work at nearby Kara that fateful morning. A dealer in granite and other building materials in the area, the 68-year-old, who lost his wife and best friend of several decades about three years ago, after completing another productive day at work, was heading home that evening when the commercial bus he boarded was caught up in the tragedy.
While other younger passengers managed to escape with minor burns and injuries, Amoo, perhaps due to age, couldn’t summon a similar swiftness. By the time he managed to drag himself to safety, there had been significant damage done to his aging body. He hangs precariously unto life at the Lagos hospital.
“Large parts of his body were severely burnt,” the 68-year-old’s daughter and fifth child, Aminat told Saturday PUNCH during an encounter on Friday. “He has not been able to open his eyes since that incident. Initially, he was not able to talk but after oxygen was administered on him on Friday morning, he had been talking gradually.
“Also, since that incident, he had not been able to urinate on his own; the nurses have been using a device to assist him to do that. He has been complaining of pains.
“We are praying to God to preserve his life. He is a good father; we cannot afford to lose him now. Since we lost our mother three years ago, he has been playing both roles for us. We beg God to spare his life,” she said.
Also lucky to be alive is Mr. Seun Solarin, an official of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, who escaped death by mere inches. The young man returning home from work with three colleagues and a few others in a Mitsubishi space wagon that fateful evening was rushing to go and watch the ongoing FIFA World Cup taking place in Russia before things took a different turn. In a few deadly seconds, daylight turned to raging storm of fire that threatened to consume him and others inside the vehicle. Despite sustaining slight injury, Solarin is grateful to have lived to tell his story.
“If anybody told me I’d still be alive by now, I would doubt it,” he said, still looking frightened. “I saw it; I was there, in front of a huge fire, in front of death. I was sitting beside the driver, Williams, my colleague when everything happened. I thought war had broken out. I was afraid that life had come to an end.
“Before the incident, I and Williams noticed how the tanker was manoeuvring anyhow. The tanker driver was waving at other vehicles behind not to come close. As it approached Oando Filling Station, there was traffic and the driver decided not to move forward again. As he tilted the tanker towards the culvert in the middle of the road so that it would stop, the tanker started descending. One of the motor boys quickly disembarked and started throwing a big wood in front of the tyre to stop it. But the tanker climbed a stone and fell. Fuel started gushing out but the others said it was diesel and that it wouldn’t explode.
“But something told me that even if it was diesel, we were supposed to run for safety. So, I asked everyone in the car to run. I had not run up to 100 metres before the tanker exploded. It was like a bomb exploding in a war. I didn’t look back again until I reached Isheri.
“Williams and another colleague, called Aunty Maria are still missing. Another colleague inside the car who managed to escape had his scalp seriously burnt. I pray not to witness anything like this in my life again,” he said as he battled tears.
We’ll not give up searching for loved ones –Relatives of missing person
Family members and friends of persons missing after Thursday’s tanker explosion in Lagos have said that they would not end their search until they find them – dead or alive.
A handful of persons – young and old – have been declared missing by many residents of the city since the tragic incident, which claimed at least nine lives, left several others injured while also destroying over 50 vehicles.
While the destination of the dead and injured has been established, those searching for their loved ones have been confused as to where to turn to for help.
A family member of one missing person, Mr. Andrew Oshaba, told Saturday PUNCH that he had searched everywhere for his brother, Abraham, a 45-year-old man, since the tragedy without any luck.
The mobile policeman said his brother left his workplace at Ikoyi and was on his way home at the time of the incident, but that his wife had not been able to reach him since then.
According to him, his phone line has failed to connect since the time of the accident on Thursday.
The accident was said to have occurred at about 5:00pm on that fateful day.
“We have searched everywhere for our brother, Abraham, since on Thursday when the tanker exploded.
“He left his office at Ikoyi and was heading home to Mowe at about that time of the incident when his phone number was last reached by his wife. Ever since that day, we have not been able to reach him or know his whereabouts.
“We have been to the Accident and Emergency Centre at Toll Gate, Gbagada General Hospital, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, even where the bodies were said to have been taken to at Lagos Island; we have not been able to find him.
“It is very frustrating but we will not give up hope in finding him. Whatever the case may be, we will not be tired because he means a lot to us.”
A woman, Adenike Lateef, who said one of her sisters had been missing since Thursday’s tragedy, told Saturday PUNCH that in all the places they had been to, there had been no trace of Morenike, her sibling.
According to her, the young lady’s mobile telephone line has ceased to connect since the afternoon of that fateful day.
She said, “She is the last child of the family. She came to Lagos in search of a job four months ago and had been staying with me at Ogudu.
“On Thursday, she told me that she wanted to see a friend at Ojodu and that she would be back later that evening. I don’t know the friend she went to see but the troubling thing is that her number has not been connecting since that evening.
“I really hope she is fine. We have searched for her everywhere but have not found her. I have informed all our family members already; we will continue to look for her until she is found. I believe we will find her.”
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‘Nobody Is Fighting For Your Throne Because You’re The Queen’ – James brown Assures Bobrisky
This is coming after Bobrisky issued a note of warning to other upcoming crossdressers, who are trying to take his ‘throne’ from him.
Taking to Instagram, the self-proclaimed male barbie wrote;
“No one sit on her throne. All dis upcoming wanna be Bobrisky be ready to work extremely hard to sit on dis throne cos ur mama ain’t leaving anytime soon. Still leading as no ONE in Africa.”
“Goddess!!!!! All those upcoming Bobrisky una go do night vigil tire to sit on my throne. Ur mama still lead across Africa and known world wide !!!!”
Reacting to the post, James took to his Instagram stories to reaffirm his loyalty to his senior colleague.
The dancer wrote;
“Auntie mi Bobrisky nobody is fighting for your throne any other crossdresser fighting for your throne is a fool instead they’ll learn from you because you are the Queen. That’s why I’m the princess, while others are concubines. Rule as long as you need because you deserve it, you know I respect my elders.”
See his post below:
BBNaija’s Dorathy Bags New Endorsement Deal With Printing Brand
First runner-up of the Big Brother Naija Lockdown season, Dorathy Bachor, has become the new brand ambassador to Revvit and Renon Printing.
Taking to Instagram on Monday to share her excitement about the deal, the reality TV star writes:
“Good morning my exploras!! Meet my new family, Revvit & Renon Printing @revvitandrenonprinting You all know I love the finer things of life and that is why I am so excited to be working with a brand that represents exquisite quality and offers the best solutions for anything branding and printing related.
Top Notch service I’m sure it is going to be a great journey with my new family and I can’t wait to explore this new page with you all #DorathyXRR”
See her post below:
Actress Shaffy Bello Pens Sweet Words To Daughter On Her 24th Birthday
Veteran Nigerian actress, Shaffy Bello, has written a beautiful birthday message to her daughter on her 24th birthday. The actress’ daughter, whose name is Omolola Ashley, turns 24 on Monday, November 23, 2020.
Taking to her official Instagram page, the delectable movie star writes:
“My priceless jewel. My one and only princess. Happy Birthday my Love. You are beautiful inside and out. I am proud of the woman you are becoming. 24 looks good on you baby. THE ENTREPRENEUR!!!
May God make you greater than your expectations. A purpose driven life awaits you. You shall be a Leader of your generations. Mummy loves you a great deal Enjoy Miami baby! ADUNNIADE OMOLOLAMI ASHLEY OF LIFE! MUA TO BAHD GAN! Hehehehe @omololaashley”
See her post below:
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