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Tanker crash, fire kills 15 in Lagos: rescue agency

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Fifteen people were killed in Nigeria's financial hub Lagos when a tanker loaded with fuel overturned and burst into flames, a rescue agency said on Wednesday.

National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) spokesman Ibrahim Farinloye told AFP initially that nine people had died in the accident, which happened just before midnight (2300 GMT) on Tuesday.

"The fire service have since picked up six more bodies," he later added, taking the death toll to 15.

The assistant comptroller of the Federal Fire Service, Ganiyu Olayiwola, also confirmed 15 deaths.

"The cause of the accident was due to a brake failure as the tanker lorry was trying to manoeuvre," he added.

Four houses, four buses and more than 60 shops were destroyed by the fire, which was extinguished shortly after 1:00 am local time on Wednesday, said Farinloye.

The accident happened on the Apapa-Oshodi expressway, which links the city's international airport with the seaport, and caused long delays to traffic on the route, which is one of the city's busiest.

The head of Lagos fire service, Rasaq Fadipe, said in an interview on Channels television that the driver of the lorry was among the dead.

Several people were also injured, he added, without specifying a figure.

According to Nigeria's Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), excessive speeding, poor road and vehicle maintenance, indiscipline and drunk-driving are the main causes of road crashes in Nigeria.

A total of 4,246 people were killed while 20,709 were injured in 6,274 road crashes across Nigeria in 2012, FRSC spokesman Jonas Agwu said in a statement sent to AFP.

The figures for 2013 are still being prepared, he said.

"Commercial vehicles account for 30 percent of road accidents and 40 percent of deaths on Nigerian roads," said Agwu.

The FRSC last year adopted the slogan "attitude change" as part of its campaign to reduce road carnage, which claims thousands of lives every year in Africa's most populous nation.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140108/tanker-crash-fire-kills-15-lagos-rescue-agency-1