On Thursday, a fuel tanker in the Niger Delta tipped over and subsequently started a deadly inferno. Nigerian journalist Oluchi Iwuoha Chimezie told BBC that she counted more than 100 bodies when she arrived on the scene.
Local authorities reported that when the vehicle fell over it did not combust immediately so citizens took the opportunity to collect the spilled petrol off the ground. AFP reported that officials warned the onslaught of fuel collectors that the petrol may ignite at any moment, but the warnings did not stop the indigent citizens. The general consensus among media outlets is that over 100 have been confirmed dead and around fifty are being treated for severe burns currently. More bodies will likely be found within the next twenty four hours as some that caught on fire ran into the bush and have yet to be recovered.
Apparently collisions are not uncommon on this stretch of pothole ridden road due to the lack of funding for this impoverished area. According to Reuters, the average occupant of this region earns less than two dollars a day and even though funds have been allocated to repair the region for almost ten years, the government is corrupt and unproductive.
This is not the first time a tragedy such as this has happened in Nigeria. As Africa’s greatest oil producer, another fuel tanker over turned last April and killed over 50. The continent’s most populous nation has suffered a massive 17,000 people dead due to road accidents across the country from 2007-2009 (federal road safety agency 2010 report)