Inside Nigeria

I want new tanker, not national honour, says man who saved Delta community from fire disaster

Author:
Samuel Akpan

Ejiro Otarigho, a driver who drove a burning fuel tanker away from a community in Delta state, says he needs a new vehicle.

Otarigho, had last week, drove his tanker which caught fire at a residential area to a river bank.

His action and bravery earned him commendations from Nigerians, including the senate which has resolved to honour him.

The upper legislative chamber had also asked President Muhammadu Buhari to to confer Otarigho with a “befitting national honour as he may deem fit for his extraordinary act of bravery, courage and skill that prevented the loss of human lives and property on a massive scale”.

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Speaking in an interview with The Punch, Otarigho said the thought of hundreds of lives and property engulfing in flames as a result of the tanker fire gave him the spunk to drive the truck to a location where there will be no disaster.

The 46-year-old who started the risky job of tanker driving about 12 years ago, said though he had received a commendation from the Delta state government, he would prefer to have his tanker replaced rather than get a national honour.

“I have received calls from them (Delta state government) but I am not interested in any national honour of any sort right now,” he said.

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“I know God has brought me to a good place where my story is now being told. All I want is a replacement for my burnt tanker so I can go back to my job.

“I have just been at home and truck driving was the only way I fed. It has not been easy for me since I lost my tanker.”

Asked if he would like to get a new job and abandon the dangerous business of tanker driving, he said, “of course, I will. It is a risky job”.

“Imagine if I had died that day, nothing would have been said of me. If the government has something better for me, I will do it without looking back. All I want is to be able to take care of myself and my family legitimately,” he said.

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