Onitsha fire: Nigige gives N1m cheque to victims

Senator Chris Ngige
Senator Chris Ngige

Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has donated  N1 million to victims of Onitsha fire disaster.

Ngige, who was at Ochanja market, yesterday, to commiserate with traders described the fire as huge loss both humanly and materially. He said the money was his personal donation to enable families who lost relations  commence burials and take care of medical bills of those injured.

“This is an unusual disaster, a lot of lives lost, a lot of shops burnt, a lot of people injured and in hospitals. I have assure the traders that Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has visited here on the instruction of Mr. President.

“We will rush relief materials here through the zonal office of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). I will meet with the minister and discuss how to move immediately to assist the victims. We shall also do that in conjunction with the state government because this happened in a state. The state government should tell us what their strength is  and where they cannot meet up.

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“Anambra  House of Assembly should make laws to guard against such occurrence in the future. The state should equip fire service and make it functional.”

Ngige admonished GovernorWillie Obiano to explore new strategies to prevent disasters in the state.

Meanwhile, the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, has expressed grief and worry over incessant fuel tanker explosion leading to many deaths in Onitsha.

The monarch in a statement described the two fire incidents as a tragedy: “Both cases were as a result of tankers laden with petrol that lost control, then, crashing and spilling their contents that ignited fires. The first was at Upper Iweka which extended to Ochanja market, resulting in loss of lives and property. The second was recorded around Omagba area of Onitsha following similar manner.

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“I share the grief of all those affected, and thank everyone, including President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Willie Obiano, my fellow traditional rulers, leaders in the public and private sectors, and a host of ordinary citizens, for their instant and massive expression of sympathy and solidarity.

“This is the third major petrol tanker fire in Onitsha since 2015. In May 2015, a tanker laden with petrol lost control and exploded in the same vicinity of the latest accident, killing about 60 persons.

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“In February 2017, another tanker laden with petrol crashed into the Mobil Petrol Station on the DMGS Roundabout and the consequent fire destroyed numerous homes and offices though, thankfully, no life was lost. There have been other major fires in the markets that dot the city.”

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