Sunday, 27 December 2015

Nnewi disaster: Relatives lament, search bushes for bodies of missing persons

Following the gas explosion that rocked Nnewi industrial town which plunged residents into mourning when scores of persons were reportedly burnt to ashes, relatives of the victims are now combing bushes near the gas plant for corpses of missing family members.

In Nigeria a huge explosion rocked the district of Nnewi in Anambra State on Christmas eve, when a butane gas depot caught fire leaving more than 100 people dead and several injured. Most of the workers and customers at the fuel depot were burnt beyond recognition.

“My heart and prayers go out to these grieving families at this difficult and painful moment,” said Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari.

Eye witnesses say that the fire in Nigeria raged for several hours before being extinguished. Many customers had gone to the depot to purchase butane gas bottles in preparation for the Christmas festivities.

The dead and injured were taken to the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital in Nnewi.

“The fire burned beyond recognition all the workers who were inside that depot at that time and also all the customers inside that depot,” Chukwuemerie Uduchukwu, who went to the scene.

The ferocity of the blast in Nigeria also damaged houses in the surrounding area. A witness told the Vanguard newspaper that the blast was triggered when a truck began discharging cooking gas without waiting for the mandatory cooling time.

Witnesses described a huge fire with acrid black smoke hanging over the scene of the disaster in Nigeria.

Reports from the scene in Nigeria say that all the customers who went to the gas plant to get a refill were allegedly burnt to death, while some of the victims who were in the neighbourhood and passers-by also got caught in the inferno.

Hon Azubogu said that the accident has made it incumbent on the government to enforce safety standards, stressing the need for regulatory bodies like the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR and similar agencies to ensure that environmental impact assessments are properly carried out before giving licenses to people to set up filling stations.

Some of the relatives of the victims, while speaking with newsmen at the scene, said they decided to search the bushes because they got information that many people ran into it during the explosion.

A staff of Chikason Group, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said workers of the organisation recently concluded a two-week fasting and prayer session after a prophet allegedly warned the Chairman of the group of an impending doom, adding that the unnamed prophet did not specify which of the factories in the group would be affected, a situation that made many members of staff to participate in the prayer sessions.

Last time two of his fully-loaded trucks just disappeared. The vehicles were carrying items running into millions of naira. That one is yet to be resolved and now this fire disaster,” he said

Sunday 27 December 2015


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