Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, on Monday, ordered the Commissioner of Police in the state, Lanre Bankole, to immediately redeploy and investigate CSP Samuel Aladegoroye, the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Lafenwa in Abeokuta, following the Sunday tanker explosion that later snowballed into a fracas.
The governor accused him of “aiding and abetting crimes and criminality” in and around the area, especially inside Lafenwa market and its environs.
The explosion occurred at a failed portion at the railway on the Lafenwa-Ojurin-Ayetoro road in the Abeokuta-North Local Government Area of the state.
The tanker loaded with Premium Motor Spirit also known as petrol had overturned when its axle broke and started spilling its contents on the road.
Pandemonium, however, broke out a few hours after the incident when some traders and hoodlums in the market began scooping the fuel from the ill-fated tanker but were stopped by the police.
This development angered some hoodlums who reportedly ignited the fire that triggered the explosion.
A grandmother and grandchild were burnt to death in the explosion.
When Abiodun visited the area on Monday, he expressed his concerns over what he termed as the “criminal act” of hoodlums triggering explosion after a tanker had fallen and spilt its content.
He also ordered the arrest of all miscreants involved in setting on fire a petrol-laden tanker that led to the explosion on Sunday.
He said there were a lot of reports against the DPO, stating that he was not effective and efficient in carrying out his statutory duties of maintaining law and order in the area.
“There are complaints against the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) here. I want that DPO investigated. I also want him removed from this place because this is not the first time that complaints have been lodged against him.
“We have gotten several complaints against him about how he mismanages this place, particularly as it pertains to miscreants that come and disturb the traders.
“He arrests them, within five to ten minutes, he releases them and that is why this place has continued to be restive. The thuggery in this place has not been contained.
“I want the CP to declare an emergency here in Lafenwa; I want every miscreant arrested because this kind of situation is totally unacceptable – where a tanker overturns, fuel that is highly inflammable is flowing through the drainage and someone wilfully ignites it so that they could cause chaos and begin to loot the market. This is very bad; it is just not acceptable; it is criminal.”
He regretted that people would be so heartless to set fire on the tanker when efforts by security and fire personnel were on the ground to salvage the situation.
While calling for a full investigation, Abiodun urged the Police Commissioner to “ensure that everybody involved in this heinous crime is arrested and brought to book. We must make an example of them.”
The Governor described the loss of lives as unfortunate, noting that both Federal and State Fire trucks were also damaged by the hoodlums who also prevented fire trucks and men of Transport Enforcement and Compliance Agency (TRACE) from sealing off the area and protecting the tanker from going up in flames.
He gave the Commissioner of Transportation, Gbenga Dairo and the Commander of TRACE three days to carry out an investigation into the immediate cause of the accident.
The Governor while commiserating with the traders who lost valuables in the fire incident, directed the commissioner for Special Duties, Femi Ogunbanwo to take inventory of all goods lost, promising to provide palliatives for victims.
In his response, the Babaloja of Lafenwa Market, Alhaji Musa Adeyinka, recounted the loss during the incident and thanked the governor for coming around to sympathize with the market people.