“There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.” Goethe, 1826. This statement became ever so true along Zing – Mayo-Belwa road on Thursday 18th February, 2016.
As we were driving along the road from Yola, we saw a crowd of people gathered around something. It was an accident. We had to also park our car some meters away from the scene as strong smells of petrol filled the air.
As soon as I saw the fallen tanker and perceived the strong smell of petrol, by impulse, I asked our driver to move the car further down the road while I alighted from the vehicle to take some shots and to ask about how it happened.
A petrol Tanker conveying fuel fell off the Mayo-Belwa Zing road around 7am that morning and highly inflammable petrol liquid was pouring out of the tanker. Some people even went as far as trying to get some of the content.
The following newspaper headlines of such incidences readily came to mind.
- 100 killed after Nigerian petrol tanker explodes after it tipped over in Okogbe, Nigeria;
- 105 dead in Nigeria fuel pipe blast from a vandalised pipeline 30 miles north of the city of Umuahia.
- Petrol tanker explosion destroys houses, vehicles in Lagos on June 6, 2015 and several others like this…
- A tanker loaded with Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) lost control and rammed into the Asaba Motor Park at Upper Iweka, Onitsha and exploded. With about 70 people burnt.
- The Ibadan tanker truck explosion was one of the worst ever multi-vehicle accidents, killing between 100 and 200 people near Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria on 5 November 2000.
I asked myself if these people knew what they were doing. Have they been reading papers? Watching news? browsing the Internet or even been to school to know of the dangers of getting close to leaky petrol tanker?
I had to quickly take two shots and run off. My mouth was too heavy to ask them to run as I was too scared. Thank God Taravoices is here to educate Tarabans on the dangers of petrol and what to do when you see a fallen and leaky petrol tanker.
Dangers of Petrol
Petrol is a dangerous liquid and the gas vapors that come out of the liquid is heavier than air. This is why it can easily overpower the weight of air and travel from place to place; covering a large area around the source, known as the “hazard zone”. This area may extend to at least 4.5m in all directions and up to 1m above the source. It is capable of being ignited(being lit) at any time, resulting in a fire and /or explosion. It is the vapor, not the liquid, which burns.
Petrol and Health
Apart from the danger of explosion, inhaling petrol can affect health. Reproductive health problems such as irregular bleeding cycles, miscarriages, stillbirths, and birth defects can result. These problems may have early warning signs such as abdominal pain or irregular bleeding.
Other health challenges include:
Euphoria (sudden feelings of happiness), Blurred vision and other eye problems, headaches, tiredness, slurred speech, nose bleeding, ear infections, hallucinations, brain damage, convulsions and unusual deaths, nose sores, asthma, bronchitis, cancers, pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.
Here’s What to Do When You see leaky petrol next time: