..as Obiano visits Upper Iweka
By Chimaobi Nwaiwu
Angry reaction has continued to follow Wednesday, October 15, 2019 fuel tanker accident that resulted in razing of over 40 houses 500 shops and untimely death of a fleeing woman and baby who slip and fell into the fire and both burning to death.
Meanwhile, another victim of the fire was on Thursday discovered dead in one of the five shopping plazas that were damaged by the fire incident at Ziks Avenue by Ochaja Roundabout where millions of naira goods of assorted types were also burnt to ashes.
Saddened by the fire accident which claimed lives and destroyed buildings, properties and goods, the Indigenous People of Biafra IPOB said with sense of deep sorrow and sadness it commiserates with all the families and communities that lost loved ones, buildings, over the tanker fire in Onitsha.
Effort to speak with some landlords whose houses were burnt along Iweka road proved abortive as some who were around are still in deep shock and their children could not speak for them, one of them who managed to speak but did not give his name said he is devastated and cannot be able to quantify what he has lost.
“I cannot even do any quantification of my losses, and you know my tenants also lost greatly in goods and household property, today is not the time to speak, we are still in great shock because this incident is not because we are careless but something that happened in far ae-way Upper Iweka and here we are counting loss on Iweka road.
Other affected traders in the incident along Menax, Iweka road and Ziks Avenue by Ochanja market roundabout also declined to speak with vanguard, saying that they are still counting losses and will not be able to give account of what they have lost.
When Vanguard visited the Ochanja Market and Ziks Avenue respectively, angry traders were seen salvaging in pains and bitterness some goods they fell could still be useful while other whose wares and shops burnt completely were bemoaning their losses and raining insult on all the relevant authorities that could not rescue their shops and wares.
Speaking with Vanguard, Chairman of Ochanj Central Market, Mr. Nelson Ojukwu confirmed that five shops inside Ochanja Market were burnt, adding that but for his traders and the leadership of the market who mobilized water tankers that supplied water for them to prevent the entire market engulfing in the fire incident, the whole market and the surrounding buildings would have burnt to ashes.
Ojukwu called on the Anambra State Government to provide the markets with Fire fighting trucks to alleviate the sufferings and losses the traders and individual house owners incur during fire incident.
Meanwhile, Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State has expressed deep sympathy and concern to the families of the Onitsha fire disaster on which equally claimed the lives of a woman and her child that were trapped in the fire at Iweka road near Ochanja market Onitsha.
The Governor who visited Upper Iweka Thursday morning did not visit Ochanja market and other areas the fire incident did greater damage, apparently because of unfavorable security report of anger in Onitsha.
In a statement press statement signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Public enlightenment Mr. Don Adinuba and made available to newsmen on the ill-fated the Governor said he has set up a Probe Panel into the remote cause of the inferno as well as find out why the State Fire Servicemen were unable to quench the fire before it escalated.
According to the statement from Mr. Adinuba “the accident occurred when a tanker laden with premium motor spirit, popularly known as petrol, fell into a ditch and began to spill its contents, a ball of fire resulted from this incident and quickly spread.
“Men of the Anambra State Fire Service arrived on the scene in good time with their new equipment. For some reason, however, they were unable to quench the inferno, the angry mob on the scene prevented other fire trucks, including one from neighbouring Asaba in Delta State, from getting to the scene.
“Governor Obiano has directed owners of properties affected by the tragic accident, including shop owners, to report at the Conference Room of the Secretary to the State Government on Monday, October 21, 2019, to see how the Anambra State Government can assist them.
“A panel will be set up immediately to determine the cause of the accident, why the firemen could not put out the fire and how the condition of the victims can be ameliorated, Governor Obiano and his family prays for the repose of the souls of the woman and child who died in the accident, he said the Anambra State Government will assist their families in their burials.”
IPOB in a statement by its leader by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful said “With a profound sense of deep sorrow and sadness we commiserate with all the families and communities that lost loved ones over the tanker fire.”
“This is not the first time an articulated lorry or a tanker driven by a terrorist laden with inflammable liquid has been involved in mass fatalities in Onitsha or other parts of Anambra State. The story is always the same, it is either their trailer had brake failure or their tanker exploded, all resulting in massive loss of lives and destruction of individually owned businesses and properties.
“We the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, call these callous and wicked acts for what it is- a cowardly terrorist attack designed by those evil men determined to exterminate we Biafrans from the face of the earth and carried out by those that think they are serving a Jihadi cause that will bring about the Islamisation of Biafraland through terrorism.
“At a time when Fulani herdsmen sponsored by the caliphate are actively engaged in the forceful acquisition of our lands in Ebonyi, Enugu, Anambra and Abia, aided by the Nigerian Army under the guise of Operation Python Dance 4, this massive loss of lives and businesses in Onitsha is most unwelcome.
“The question we keep asking is, why are there no exploding tankers in crowded streets of Kano, Kaduna or Sokoto? Why must tankers driven by northerners always explode in the south or the brakes of their trailers always fail in Biafraland? It is time now for our people to wake up to this new reality of population reduction by that intent on the destruction of the Biafran race.
“We Biafrans as people are under immense siege from our enemies on multiple fronts. They are determined to conquer and subjugate us by all means but we IPOB shall continue to resist them regardless of human and material cost.
“It is not a coincidence that at a time when Biafrans are being persecuted in India, South Africa, Togo, Congo, Indonesia and Malaysia at the instigation of the Government of Nigeria, our land being forcibly given to Fulani terror herdsmen by weak South East governors; Ohaneze Ndigbo slavishly and treacherously going down on their knees to beg the caliphate to make Ohaneze leader a lapdog president of the north.
“Coupled with the closure of land borders in the south of Nigeria while those in the north remain open; using Operation Python Dance 4 to terrorize innocent civilians to submit to the will of the Fulani caliphate, are all well marshaled schemes designed to instill fear, strangulate Biafran businesses across West Africa, render Biafraland economically impotent and prepare Biafrans for total annihilation.
“Every Biafran must wake up to this inevitable reality that our governors and Ohaneze have sold us and our children’s future to their Fulani masters. What awaits us all is slavery and servitude unless we rise up to support Biafra restoration as puritanically championed by IPOB.”
According to IPOB, “The fire outbreak in Onitsha was designed and ochestratrated by a few individuals who used a Fulani driver to perfect this most heinous terrorist attack on the peace-loving people of Biafra.
“Even in midst of this terrible attack the incompetence and carelessness of Governor Willie Obiano shone through. Anambra State government were unable to mobilize paid firefighters or summon a fire engine to help with efforts to put out the inferno, instead, Willie Obiano ordered the arrest of those that volunteered to stop the fire from spreading.
“I and Umu Idemili are deeply saddened by this unfortunate tragedy and pray the Almighty God to give the bereaved and those who lost their properties the fortitude to bear the loss.
“It was indeed a sad occurrence that has once again reminded us of our exposure to risk, the transience of human life and the vanity of its accomplishments. At times like this, it is important we invoke our famed Spirit of Anambra, which emphasizes compassion, for solace and solidarity.
“I commend the government of Anambra State for its intervention and the decision to consider possible compensation to all those who lost their properties and the family of the deceased. On my part, I will see to it that the National Assembly uses the instrumentality of its law making capacity to regulate the movement of tankers in the country.
“It is my prayer that God will in this hour of trial imbue in us the spirit of brotherhood, love and care for one another, we all must pray for Onitsha”