The mothers of 32 victims who died when a tanker laden with flammable substances exploded while crossing the Lagos-Ibadan expressway on February 4, 2018 are still searching for answers after a year. Twelve months ago, their children aged between three and 18 were killed after a trailer, on its way to Ibadan, Nigeria’s second largest city, caught fire while causing chaos and traffic jams along the Lekki-Ikoyi Road, Lagos. Fifty-eight people were injured.
Phineas Okoro, 28, his wife, Sully, and their two daughters were among the dead. In March, Phineas Okoro’s distraught mother, Catherine, told BBC News that her son’s life had been cut short by “a completely unforeseen mishap”.
Her daughter, Sully, 19, was “terrified” about her father’s death, she said. “She thinks he’s in heaven,” she said. “She’s trying to fight this sickness: she thinks Daddy’s in heaven … She’s still very unsettled, and we’re trying to help her deal with it.”
Her husband, who had attended a marriage ceremony the day before, was in shock and had not been able to see his children.
Sully had just completed school in Lagos, following her parents’ move to the country to take up jobs. She was attending a vocational school to earn money for her father’s medical bills and to help their family, Catherine said.
Okoro had worked for the Federal Road Safety Corps as a highway patrol officer, as a security guard at an oil firm and as a security guard at a law firm.
Last week, Catherine was called to the New Horizon Gospel Ministry, a Lagos Church, to find out that her son would be awarded posthumous awards to mark the one-year anniversary of his death.
Blessed with four children, according to his father, Phineas Okoro had recently returned from Germany after completing a study course on Arabic. Catherine said he had planned to go back to Germany to look for his uncle, who had been ill.
The church gave the couple a scholarship to help Sully support Phineas, who was the most caring parent in the family.
Before leaving for Germany on February 6, 2018, Sully said: “My dad made me so proud with everything he did and everything he achieved,” Catherine told BBC News. “He was a very proud person.”
Her mother’s anguish stems from the very anger that she feels towards those responsible for what happened to her son.
“I want justice for my son,” she said. “We still see people burning the scene. People are still bleeding there.”
Read the full story at BBC News.
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