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Anambra State sets up panel to probe Onitsha inferno

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Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Mr. John Abang (second left); Governor Willie Obiano (second right) and Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr. Primus Odili (right) at the scene of Wednesday’s fire incident around Upper Iweka in Onitsha…yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Okowa, Ortom sympathise with Obiano, victims
Anambra State government yesterday said a panel has been set up to determine the cause of the fire accident that swept through some residential areas in Onitsha roasting a woman and her baby, while destroying property worth millions of naira.

A tanker laden with petroleum products lost control at Upper Iweka area along Enugu-Onisha expressway in Onitsha on Wednesday, crashed into a ditch and burst into flames.

The fire destroyed homes, shops and other valuable property.

A statement yesterday in Awka by the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr. C.Don Adinuba, had it that Governor Willie Obiano regretted the unfortunate situation and expressed sympathy to the families of a woman and her child who were burnt to death in the incident.

Adinuba also explained that the panel headed by the deputy governor, Dr. Nkem Okeke, would investigate why the Anambra fire service could not put out the fire before it escalated.

The statement directed owners of properties affected by the tragic accident, including shop owners, to report today, October 18, at Ekwueme Square.

“Government will assist families of the dead during their burial, and will continue to equip the state fire service to carry out its duties effectively,” the commissioner stated.

However, Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom and his Delta counterpart, Ifeanyi Okowa, have joined other Nigerians in sympathising with victims of the disaster.

Ortom, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, described the incident as devastating and unfortunate.

According to him, there is need for urgent steps to stem the spate of fire disasters in parts of the country.

The governor further prayed God to grant the dead eternal rest and their families the strength to bear the loss.

He also wished the injured speedy recovery.

Okowa condoled with his Anambra counterpart, Willie Obiano, and Anambra people over the tragedy.

A statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Olisa Ifeajika, quoted the governor as describing the images of the incident as heart-rending.

The governor extended his sympathy to the people who suffered varying degrees of losses in the incident, just as he condemned the attitude of some residents that stoned fire fighters from Delta who came to the rescue, thereby preventing them from carrying out their lawful duties.


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