Tanker crash: Nigerians again rush for fuel

2012-07-20 19:25
Residents of a Nigerian state have raced to scoop fuel from damaged oil tankers, a week after more than 100 people in the area were burnt to death while doing the same thing. (AFP)

Residents of a Nigerian state have raced to scoop fuel from damaged oil tankers, a week after more than 100 people in the area were burnt to death while doing the same thing. (AFP)

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Port Harcourt - Residents of a Nigerian state raced to scoop fuel from damaged oil tankers on Friday, a week after more than 100 people in the area were burnt to death while doing the same thing.

After a tanker overturned last week in the southern Rivers state, hundreds rushed to the scene to collect the spilling fuel. At least 104 died when the crash site caught fire.

On Friday, five petrol tankers were involved in an accident in Rivers state's Eneka area and residents again "rushed to the scene to scoop fuel, but were forcefully stopped" by the military, said Yushau Shuaib, spokesperson for the National Emergency Management Agency.

The head of the agency's operations in the area, Emenike Umesi, said the repeat behaviour a week after a major catastrophe was extremely worrying.

"Especially because of the fact that I have been on air every day of the week talking about how dangerous this is," Umesi told AFP.

He rejected the notion that poverty in a country where most people live on less than $2 a day led residents to take such risks.

"Some of the people who died in the last incident owned shops. Some had cows.... If you are the kind of person who can own a shop and take care of himself there is no reason for you to engage in this behaviour," he said.

"It's not poverty. The problem is attitude. People like to take what does not belong to them."

Dozens were also injured in the fire last week, which Rivers Governor Chibuike Amaechi called "an avoidable tragedy".

- SAPA
Read more on:    nigeria  |  west africa
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