At least 40 people have died and over 60 have been injured in an oil tanker explosion in Benue state, central Nigeria.

Eyewitnesses said that on Monday afternoon an oil tanker overturned while trying to avoid a pothole on a highway leading to the state capital, Makurdi.

Locals then gathered to collect fuel leaking from the truck despite warnings from police officers present at the scene.

In addition, the driver on an 18-seater passenger bus insisted on going through the scene of the accident, witnesses said.

Reports say something then ignited the fuel and there was an explosion killing all the passengers on board and some of those gathering fuel.

Nearby houses and residents were also affected.

Two men from the fire service were reportedly seriously injured while attempting to put out the inferno, and are in hospital.

Accidents involving oil tankers are common on Nigeria’s roads. Last August, a fuel tanker crashed and caught fire in the city of Port Harcourt, southern Nigeria.

And in June 2018, at least nine people were killed in a major accident involving a tanker in the financial capital, Lagos.

-BBC