Ogun State government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the British High Commission towards bringing urban renewal and public transportation up to speed with global best practices.
The governor, Dapo Abiodun, has also commiserated with the victims of the fire incident in Sango Ota on Thursday night.
Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Tokunbo Talabi, who signed on behalf of the State Government, and Head of Future Cities Programme of the British High Commission, Guy Harrison, agreed that it had become expedient to be futuristic.
The partnership drive between Ogun and Britain is captured under the ‘Future Cities Nigeria’, a United Kingdom-funded urban renewal programme with a timeline of three years.
According to the programme outline, UK will provide support for the Ogun transport sector. The British government will also fast-track housing and urban developments in Ogun, which is facing the challenge of absorbing spill-over of the population explosion in Lagos.
Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony at the Governors’ Office in Abeokuta, Mr. Talabi commended the initiative, saying it would complement the various efforts of the state government in its desire to plan for a common prosperous future for the people of the state and for physical infrastructure.
Talabi noted that the present administration was committed to providing the enabling environment for such partnerships to thrive seamlessly.
His words, “We thank the British government and the Future Cities Nigeria for this laudable initiative targeted at planning towards the future in Ogun. This level of support cannot be diminished because the Dapo Abiodun-led administration is determined to change the narrative on how things are done.”
On his part, Harrison said that the team was in the state to support the viable policies of Abiodun, to fully maximise the benefits of urban renewal and transportation available.
He promised that the support of Britain for urban renewal and public transportation in the state would be total.
The primary focus, he noted, would be to develop the capacity of the people and the state at large.
“The British High Commission is extremely delighted with the state government on the various policies on sustainable development, job creation, poverty reduction and many others targeted at giving the people a new lease of livelihood,” he added.
Also, the Team Lead for the Future Cities programme, Simon Gusah, underscored the importance of planning as a prerequisite to nation-building.
However, The Guardian checks yesterday linked the mishap to mechanical deficiency of a truck conveying Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).
The truck, according to sources, fell around 11.55 pm near the Shoprite mall, and spilled its contents, which spread flames up to the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Command office at the old Toll Gate, Ota, destroying
vehicles and other properties.
Aside the two people that were burnt to death, six people were injured, while 17 vehicles, including the truck, were burnt.
Ogun State Sector Commander of the FRSC, Clement Oladele, told The Guardian that two burnt corpses were evacuated to the Ifo General Hospital, while the injured were rescued to Ota General Hospital.
He advised motorists, especially tankers transporting flammable products, to adhere strictly to the 1957 United Nations Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Roads (ADR), which Nigeria recently acceded to.
“This, among others, requires trucks conveying dangerous goods, including petroleum products, to be installed with tanker’s seal valve, which prevents the liquefied contents from spilling its contents in the event of a road traffic crash.
“While the FRSC has commenced investigation of the crash, the contents of the crashed tanker would not have spilled, if the tanker was installed with a seal valve,” he said.
He commiserated with the relations of the victims and urged them to visit the FRSC Command in Ota or the general
hospitals in Ota and Ifo.