As the nation has continued to record tanker explosions on the road day in day out, the National secretary, Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Mr. Aloga Ogbogo recently disclosed there is need for all tankers to have safety valve and that the officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) should be deployed to depot to inspect trucks before and after loading.
These he said will go a long way to reduce to barest minimum the case of tanker explosion in the country.
Ogbogo told Transportation Plus recently that NARTO has been making several recommendations on the way to avert the disaster on the road and will not stop making the recommendations until the relevant authorities do the needful to make the Nigerians roads safe for all road users.
While speaking exclusively to Transportation Plus recently, Ogbogo pointed out that unless FRSC and other relevant agencies rise up to do what is needful, the case of tanker explosion may not be abated on Nigeria roads.
According to him, every truck carrying petroleum products needs to have safety valve that will prevent the tanker’s content from spilling, saying if the content is not spilling, the case of fire incidence will be reasonably minimal.
He also recommended that uncompromised official of FRSC should be deployed to the deport where tankers are loading to carry out pre and post loading inspection on every truck and any truck discovered to be unworthy should not be allowed to carry petroleum product out of the depot.
He said “on the issue of averting tanker explosion and ensuring safety with regards to tanker and movement of petroleum products on the roads, NARTO has been on the forefront of the deployment of FRSC into the depot to carry out pre and post loading inspection”.
“In this case, before a truck can load, FRSC should conduct a pre loading inspection and after the truck has been loaded, FRSC should also carry out post loading inspection; this gesture will go a long way to assert the roadworthiness of the truck and if a truck is discovered not fit enough, they should not be allowed to carry petroleum product out of the depot, such truck should be moved away from the deport, this is one of the measures we have been advocating for.
The NARTO scribe also noted that the drivers need training and retraining, just as installation of speed limit device is inevitable on every truck.
Ogbogo said “the issue of training and retraining of drivers is also very key. We have always supporting FRSC in the training and retraining of drivers. There is issue of speed limiter. We have discussed it time without number. More importantly, we have been advocating for the installation of safety valve on every tanker that carries petroleum products.
“If for instance a tanker is loaded at one of the major deports and has safety valve, there wouldn’t be spillage. Safety valve controls spillage and if the product is not linking out, then it will not quickly go in flame. With safety valve, flaming will be control. Even if tanker falls, as long as it has safety valve, the product will not spill and once the product is not spilling, it is not likely to go on flame. So as a matter of compulsion, every tanker carrying petroleum product must have safety valve and there is need for enforcement to this effect. If the product is not linking out, flame will be controlled”.
Another problem that needs to be taken serious and require urgent attention is the fact that, most of the trucks on Nigeria roads are depleting. According to Ogbogo, “some of the trucks we are using in Nigeria are aged. This is why we have been advocating for the establishment of Transport Development Bank”.
Speaking further, the NARTO scribe said “establishment of Transport Development Bank will go a long way to help transporters to re-fleet. The road transport sector is responsible for the movement of about 80% of passengers, goods and cargo in the country, yet it is one sector that don’t have a unified regulatory body; whereas, regulation is very important and fundamental.
“If there is Bank of Commerce and Industry, if there is Bank of Agriculture, why are we not having Transport Development Bank considering the fact that transport is very fundamental to the Nigeria economy? Most of the crash involving truck on the road is because the trucks are old; whereas, it costs a huge amount to buy one truck, not to even talk of two or five. If Nigeria can do without transportation, then there may be no need for Transport Development Bank but I am sure if you remove transport sector from Nigeria, the nation’s economy will crumble”.
The dilapidated state of the Nigeria roads, according to Ogbogo is another factor that is contributing big problem to the transportation of petroleum product in the country. He said “the state of the Nigeria roads is something else, the road is contributing greatly to the depletion of trucks. The roads are in terrible state. A bad road will spoil a good truck. Most of the roads, if not all are terribly bad; whereas, these are roads that are very key to the transportation of petroleum and agricultural products, they are in deplorable state.
“Sometimes you see fuel scarcity in places like Abuja, it was not because there was no fuel in the country but because the roads are bad and so it takes more days to get to Abuja because the length of days has increased. The cost of operation has also increase seriously on the part of we operators, yet the freight rate remains the same, infact, there are a lot of issues that are facing the nation’s transport sector.
“We have pipeline, yet the product cannot be moved to various places because we can’t guarantee the security of the product owing to vandalisation; the question now is, if the government cannot guarantee the security of the product, then who else? Pipeline vandalisation has become a national menace and this is why you see tankers moving on long distance just to make sure the product are available in every part of the country.
“The tanker owners and drivers are rendering national service but there is no recognition for it; when there is any issue or crisis, it is the tanker owners and the drivers that suffer it, including burning of trucks and many other terrible things. In the Eastern part of the country, the IPOB are fond of burring trucks; infact, the challenges before the transport sector of the Nigeria economy are terrible and numerous, sometimes, we operators don’t even know what do. The relevant authorities need to rise up to do the needful. The government must rise up.