Nnewi (Anambra) – Relatives of victims of Nnewi gas explosion, yesterday, combed bushes near the gas plant for corpses of missing family members, even as the Anambra Fire Service has eventually succeeded in putting out the fire.
Some of them told Vanguard that they decided to search the bush because they got information that many people ran into it during the explosion.
A middle aged woman, Amaka said she is still in shock after the incident. According to her, “I cannot just believe that my maid who was sent to refill gas at the factory is gone for ever.
“I am in deep trouble, what will I tell the family of the girl, I just brought her from the village last three months with the promise that I would help sponsor her education, I have gone to the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital(NAUTH) Nnewi mortuary where the corpses are deposited but my maid is not there. Will I just go and tell the parents that their daughter is dead without the corpse,” she queried.
Also, a staff of Chikason Group, who spoke on 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 the impending doom.
He however stated that the 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.
“I don’t know why all these bad things are happening. Our Chairman is a very good man who is passionate about the welfare of the downtrodden even at great personal cost. 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
The Chikason staff however, did not mention the name of the prophet .
Meanwhile, the traditional ruler of Nnewi, Igwe Kenneth Orizu in company of his council of titled Chiefs visited the scene of the fire incident yesterday. Spokesman for the royal father and former Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party PDP Anambra state, Chief Dan Ulasi told newsmen that Nnewi has never experienced such a level of devastation in its entire history.
He pointed out that the Igwe and his cabinet had also visited the injured in different hospitals in Nnewi.
The monarch expressed shock that an industrial town like Nnewi does not have a functional Fire Service Station, urging the government to address the anomaly.
A member of House of Representatives for Nnewi North, Nnewi South and Ekwusigo Federal Constituency Hon Chris Azubogu who also visited the scene of the explosion noted that the accident has cast a big shadow on Christmas celebrations in the town.
Hon.Azubogu prayed for the repose of the souls of the victims, as well as, prayed for the quick recovery of those in the hospitals.
The lawmaker said that the accident has made it incumbent on the government to enforce safety standards, stressing the need for regulatory bodies like 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.