Three soldiers and five policement were among Victims of the inferno that claimed over 40 lives in Lagos on Sunday, LEADERSHIP investigations revealed last night.
An official of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) at the dismantled Lagos/Ibadan tollgate, Mr. Vincent Obioma, confirmed to Leadership that three soldiers were among passengers at the tollgate bus stop soliciting free ride to their destination.
He added that a driver of one of the vehicles consumed in the fire blaze, who managed to escape from the disaster, said on his hospital bed that he gave three soldiers a lift on their way to Ibadan before the accident happened and that it was by sheer luck that God spared his life.
The FRSC official also stated, “The driver only wanted to know if his fellow occupants of the vehicle were able to escape alongside with him. I think he felt for them. When he was told they could not make it, he screamed and went into unconsciousness.
“We are planning sending a report to the army formations in Lagos to alert them of the development and also check their personnel list, possibly carry out physical personnel identification to ascertain whether or not they lost any of their personnel to the inferno.”
The official also said the tanker had a policeman in front with the driver and that he was burnt beyond recognition.
He added: “Then, some of the policemen that mounted illegal road-block that allegedly caused the incident also lost one of their men to the fire.”
It was also gathered from the FRSC operative that there were three other policemen in commercial vehicles in which the FRSC had chastised the driver for not using his seat belt and that it was not long after they had released the bus that the accident occurred.
“I am sure they also perished alongside other passengers in the bus because the bus is burnt beyond recognition,” he said.
Obioma blamed the police of feeding the public with wrong information about the number of casualty.
According to him, “They knew that it was their men that caused the accident, so they wanted to coverup the alarming figure of the deaths. It is unfortunate.”
It would be recalled that the police in Lagos had said that it was only three persons that died in the accident while over 12 vehicles were burnt, a claim that the FRSC operative described as “incorrect and selfish”.
It was also gathered that some of the injured in the hospital were responding to treatment, contrary to the police’s earlier information that there was no survivor.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola, has indicated interest to pick the medical bills of the victims at the hospital. He also described the incident as unfortunate and prayed God to give the families of the deceased the fortitude to bear the loss.