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Fuel tanker explosion kills two in southern Nigeria

Abuja: Nigerian presidency confirmed on Thursday two people were killed in a fuel tanker explosion which wreaked havoc in the southern state of Anambra.

A woman and her child were confirmed killed as the tanker fell and spilled its content on a busy road in Onitsha, a commercial city of Anambra, according to a statement from the presidency.

“I am profoundly touched by the sight of the charred remains of an innocent mother and her child who are victims of this tragedy,” Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said in the statement issued in Abuja.

“I also extend my sympathies to other victims of the explosion whose houses, shops and other property were destroyed in the mishap,” he said.

Over 40 buildings and scores of shops were lost to the fire, according to local media.

Buhari called for urgent action on the part of those concerned to stem these frequent fatal disasters on public roads.

The president directed relevant government ministries and departments, as well as local stakeholders, to urgently address the issue of safety standards in the country, with a view to “stemming the embarrassing frequency of these tragedies”.

Andrew Kumapayi, head of the state’s Federal Road Safety Commission, told Xinhua the tanker lost control and fell into a gutter after experiencing break failure, spilling its content and causing fire.

Kumapayi said the fire service officials got to the scene promptly but could not put out the fire as their water pump developed fault. According to him, the fire spread through the gutter and affected houses and shops along the road.

In July, a similar explosion in the central Nigerian state of Benue had claimed at least 45 lives.

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