NOT less than four persons were burnt beyond recognition yesterday when a fuel-laden tanker burst into flames on the River Niger Bridge after Itobe in Ajakuta Local Council of Kogi State.
It was gathered that the tanker driver and the conductor had tampered with the fuel tanker at Itobe near Ajaokuta, where they might have sold out some of the fuel and, in the process, they could not properly cover the valve which started gushing fuel onto the bridge.
About 14 members of the Kogi State Correspondent chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) who were returning from a party campaign rally in Olamaboro Local Council escaped the fireball by whiskers.
The correspondents of Leadership and Vanguard newspapers, Mr. Sam Egwu and Bolu Obahopo, however, sustained various degrees of injury when they jumped out from the moving vehicle that
The Guardian gathered that the driver of the 33,000 litres capacity tanker made frantic efforts to stem the outpouring of fuel from the side valves of the tanker, before the sudden fire outburst that consumed them.
A motorcyclist, who was attempting to overtake the Toyota Haice bus of the Correspondents Chapel slipped over the fuel, fell down and the scratch of the silencer on the bridge ignited the fire which consumed the fuel tanker as well as the driver of the tanker.
The Toyota Haice bus, which had passed immediately after, caught fire from the underside, during which a stampede ensued inside the bus.
Others who later alighted were able to put out the fire with the fire extinguisher, while those injured were taken to the nearby Crestwood Hospital, Ajaokuta, for treatment.