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Construction work not responsible for Rivers accident – Umahi

Minister of Works, Dave Umahi, has said the tanker explosion which claimed the lives of five persons and destroyed over 70 vehicles at Eleme in…

Minister of Works, Dave Umahi, has said the tanker explosion which claimed the lives of five persons and destroyed over 70 vehicles at Eleme in Rivers State was not caused by the ongoing construction work on the road.

Umahi, who spoke to journalists shortly after inspecting the scene of the accident, blamed the accident on two truck drivers whom he said were struggling for right of way.

He alleged that the two drivers may have been under the influence of hard drugs as he wondered how human beings in their right senses could endanger their lives by struggling for right of way in a congested road such as Akpajo Eleme route.

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He called on the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) to set up a check-point where motorists will be examined for substance abuse.

He said, “The accident was caused as I was briefed by the carelessness of two drivers who were struggling, which everybody knows, are for right of way. They were competing with their lives and so collided with a trailer and a tanker that has fuel.

“I think that the Federal Road Safety Commission should mount a number of checkpoints to examine people against ‘mupuru miri’ and hard drugs because it’s only ‘mpuru miri’ and hard drugs that can make you use your life to compete and that’s what happened and it’s unfortunate.

“I’m not even sure that the drivers that caused this accident lost their lives but they caused other law abiding citizens of the country to lose their lives and a number of properties.

“I was informed of this unfortunate incident while I was at work in Lagos coastal route so I decided to cut short my journey and to be in Port Harcourt. Before coming I have gotten a report from the Controller.

“First, my sympathy goes to all the families of the victims for the unfortunate lost which can’t be recovered by the death of their loved ones and then to the Rivers State people and government I extend my sympathy to them.

“When somebody is dead we are not talking about who is right or who is wrong because no lost can be recovered. But one funny person from Eleme made a very careless and inciting statement alluding that the accident was caused as a result of the road construction.

“There is a bridge there that we are reconstructing and they were very large . Over 16 meters wide of diversion was made in the past one year and that’s where vehicles are following and he made a very nasty statement trying to blame the construction company and blame the federal government for the accident.

“He even boosted that he is going to International court of justice in Geneva to take us to court. So he is a very funny human being. Every time people are looking for an opportunity to loot and I credit that very unfortunate statement to that.

“President Bola Almed Tinubu when he came on board , he saw how terrible this road was and he directed that work should be started not as usual but that the road should be redesigned.

“Apart from Warri to Benin and part of Lokoja there is no any other section of the road in this country that this kind of construction is going on. The 15 kilometers road dualized for six lanes is about the heaviest traffic route in the country and so because the soil is bad we are digging about one meter, we are filling with lumps about half a meter, we are filling with sharp sand about half a meter, we are filling with stone base, 8 inches, we are putting 4 inches and another stone base mixed with 5% cement and then we are now putting 8 inches reinforced concrete pavement on top of it.

“The idea of Mr President is that it should last a minimum of 100 years considering the load that it’s carrying.”

He directed the construction firm handling the project to open more sections of sections of the construction work as to fast track the project.

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