Ten fuel scoopers have been reported dead when they were allegedly engaged in scooping petroleum product from a fuel tanker that fell at road side, along Odukpani axis of the Ikom-Calabar highway near the Federal Housing estate.
The fuel tanker loaded with the product from NNPC depot fell on Friday afternoon while trying to dodge a pothole on the road.
An eyewitness who declined giving his name said, “At the last count, over eight persons who went to scoop fuel were trapped in the inferno.
“They were roasted to death when a tanker laden with petroleum products exploded In Odukpani, the outskirts of Calabar on Friday evening. The truck was moving from the fuel depots in Calabar to the northern part of the state when it veered off the road at the New Netim Junction into a gully, spilling its products in the process.
“When the tanker fell, so many people from Odukpani and neighbouring areas came with different items to scoop fuel and when the police arrived, they were told to go away but they refused to leave and after some time the tanker went up in flames and majority of them were caught in the explosion.
He said the men of Federal Road Safety Commission that were holding a mobile court close to the scene of the accident were contacted but failed to respond.
Sadly, Ms Irene Ugbo, the Cross River Police Public Relations officer said she cannot give the exact figure of those caught in the inferno, “But the police had asked them to leave the place but they refused to heed instruction”.