Rita Enemuru, Reporting
A truck driver, identified as Mr. Ejiro Otarigho, Friday evening, at the risk of his life, successfully drove a burning diesel-laden truck from a human-populated environment to safety in Delta State.
Otarigho in cheer bravery, having realised his truck had combusted, reportedly drove the truck out of a residential area in Agbarho town, Ughelli North Local Government Area before abandoning it at the outskirts of the town and jumped down to safety.
Witnesses of the incident said the driver’s bravery apparently averted what would have destroyed several lives and property in highly-populated Agbarho town.
Amid the pandemonium that ensued, witnesses said the driver also escaped after halting the truck near a river in the bush.
A Senior Special Assistant to the Delta State government, Agba Abraham, confirmed that the driver is hail and hearty.
Abraham, however, called for a special recognition for the youngman for averting a major tragedy at the expense of his life.
“This truck driver, Mr. Ejiro Otarigho, deserves a national honour for averting a national disaster that would have destroyed lives and property in Agbarho Town, Ughelli North LGA.
“See how the driver risked his life to divert the truck from town to save the environment.
“I urge relevant authorities, both national and state, to act.
“I just spoke with the heroic driver, Mr. Ejiro Otarigho, he is hail and hearty,” he noted.
Meanwhile, moved by the selfless display by the driver, who was said to be newly married, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Delta State Council, has praised the uncommon feat of the driver.
In a statement signed by chairman and secretary of the council, Michael Ikeogwu and Patrick Ochei, the state council called on the state and local government area to celebrate and reward Mr Otarigho for his heroic exploit.
“The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Delta State Council commends the hèroic tanker driver, Mr. Ejiro Otarigho for averting major fire catastrophe at the Agbarho area of Delta State.
“The young man whom we learnt newly got married, decided not to be selfish with his life and family concerns, but made up his mind to risk his own life to prevent a major fire accident that would have thrown the entire State into pandemonium from happening.
“The tanker driver decided to be patriotic at a time when most Nigerians had lost hope in our dear nation.
“In a situation like this, other drivers would have abandoned the already burning truck laden with diesel on the road; and thereby causing a disaster that would have definitely affected other road users and even lives and properties within that vicinity.
“However, in that pathetic state of mind, Mr. Otarigho made up his mind to perish in the fire until he had driven the fire engulfed truck out of human populated environment to the river.
“We give glory to God Almighty that he didn’t die, but survived to tell his heroic story.
“On this note, we call on the Federal Government, Delta State Government and of course the Ughelli North Local Government to celebrate this young man and duly compensate him.
“His singular effort has saved the state so much, otherwise, if the incident had occurred, the state would have been counting its losses in human casualties and property destructions.
“On our part as a Union and mirror of society, the young Otarigho is our man of the year, and at the appropriate time, we will honour him to prove to the world that there are still patriotic ordinary Nigerians.
“People like him are those that truly deserve media awards. We are really proud of him,” the statement noted.