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Ongoing Road Rehabilitation Not Cause Of Rivers Tanker Explosion — Umahi

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I Am A Prophet, God Told Me Tinubu's Administration Will Last Eight Years – David Umahi

The Minister of Works, David Umahi, has denied allegations linking the recent rehabilitation of the Eleme section of the East-West Road to the tragic incident last Friday, which resulted in the loss of five lives and the destruction of 120 vehicles.

Speaking to journalists during his visit to the site of the tanker fire in Eleme, Umahi called for enhanced road safety measures, including checkpoints to monitor substance abuse among drivers.

Naija News reports that this visit follows remarks from Governor Siminalayi Fubara, who termed the incident as “avoidable carnage” and confirmed the casualties and extensive vehicle damage.

Umahi, expressing his condolences, empathized with the victims’ families and the people of Rivers State, describing the incident as a profound tragedy.

Addressing the allegations made by the president of a local group, who blamed the federal government and the construction company for the incident, Umahi labelled the accusations as misguided and inflammatory.

“There is a bridge there that we are reconstructing, and the diversion we created last year is over 16 meters wide, which is where vehicles are currently routed,” Umahi explained, dismissing claims that the rehabilitation work caused the accident.

He recalled an initiative by President Bola Tinubu, who upon assuming office, prioritized the rehabilitation of this heavily trafficked road.

The minister detailed the extensive construction efforts aimed at ensuring the road’s durability, including significant structural enhancements to accommodate the heavy traffic and poor soil conditions.

“The 15 kilometers road dualized for six lanes is about the heaviest traffic road in the country. We are implementing a robust design to ensure it lasts a minimum of 100 years considering the load it’s carrying,” Umahi stated.

The minister attributed the cause of the inferno to reckless driving and a lethal race for right-of-way between two drivers, which led to a catastrophic collision involving a trailer and a fuel tanker.

He emphasized the necessity for the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) to implement stringent checkpoints to monitor and control the influence of hard substances and drugs on drivers, which he believes contributed to the drivers’ reckless behavior.

Umahi’s visit also included an assessment of the ongoing construction work, affirming the quality of the work and discussing plans to expedite the opening of more sections of the road.

He reiterated the government’s commitment to ensuring that contractors adhere to strict timelines, with the exception of coastal roads, which have a longer completion timeframe due to their complexity.

Umahi further assured that all possible steps are being taken to prevent such incidents in the future. This aligns with President Tinubu’s policy of reducing construction duration on national projects, enhancing safety and infrastructure quality.