On Saturday, June 6, 2015, a tanker load of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) skidded and lay on it side at Idimu, a suburb of Lagos. The spilled petroleum product ignited a heavy outbreak of fire in the vicinity. Victims were taken to Igando Emergency Centre, very close to Alimosho General Hospital, Igando, Lagos.
ENCOMIUM Weekly was at the centre on Thursday, June 11, 2015, and spoke with some witnesses. Our effort to speak with the officials or any of the victims were rebuffed until…
MRS. IBRAHIM AROWORATIRA HAULAT – witness
How did the incident happen?
Around 12 mid night on Saturday, our electricity just came, so I decided to stand up and charge my lamps. Suddenly, I heard a loud sound and I decided to check. So, I saw a tanker lying right in front of my house and fuel was already gushing out into the gutter. I was still standing when the tanker exploded and fire came out of it. I ran inside the house, I shouted and everyone woke up. So, we all left the house that night.
How many buildings did it affect?
It affected our house as you can see, but we poured water quickly, so ours is not much but it affected 37 houses and lots of shops.
Have government officials come here to sympathise with you?
Yes, they came. The people who lost their houses and properties were taken to an emergency camp at Igando but people who lost their shops have not received anything. The governor of Lagos State, Akin Ambode and his deputy also visited as well as the local government chairman.
What do you want the governor to do for the people who lost their house and properties?
The government should make sure that they take proper care of them. They should do everything in their capacity to help them because it’s not easy to lose one’s house suddenly. Although we heard that they are taking proper care of them at the emergency camp, they give them food also.
BLESSING – witness
Can you tell us what really happened?
At 12 mid night, we heard a strange sound on the road. One of my neighbours went out to check what was going on. He noticed the fuel tanker. According to him, he said he moved further to know exactly what was happening. Immediately he saw fire coming from one of the shops, he ran back to alert everybody to move out of the building.
The fire destroyed 17 shops and 5 houses. Before it got to my apartment, we’re able to get water ready that was why my apartment was not really affected.
How long did the fire last?
The fire started at mid night, five minute after the tanker fell. It lasted for more than eight hours. Before the fire service operatives came, shops and houses were already burnt down, but I thank God nobody died.
What has the government done for the victims?
Nothing is done especially for those that lost their shops. They only gave them a form to fill which they have filled and submitted. Those that lost their houses, the government has taken them to a place provided by the government. Before then, they were all given N5,000 each to buy clothes because they all left their houses with nothing and most of them were naked. I think the government will help them.
Did they promise to rebuild their houses and shops for them?
I think they will do that, but they have not promised. It is the responsibility of the government to rebuild all the affected houses and shop. But for now, the government has provided accommodation and feeding for them.
– NKECHINYERE IBEMERE AND MALTIDA ALOYSIUS