Lamentations of victims of Iyana Ipaja petrol tanker fire
Victims of Iyana Ipaja fire incident caused by a fuel tanker registration number KJA238XN that fell on a commercial vehicle registration number MUS246 and razed down many shops, houses, vehicles and tricycles are still nursing their wounds caused by the disaster.
When The Guardian visited the scene of the accident yesterday, many of the shops remain locked while a few that opened were only carrying out renovations.
Some of the displaced shop owners were seen hanging around the place with hopelessness visibly discernable from their faces.
The common worry of the victims was the inability of the State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, who visited the site on the day of the fire incident, to fulfill his promise that within 48 hours he would ensure the government extends to the victims some kind of palliative measures to cushion the painful effect of the sudden disaster.
Some of the victims who spoke to The Guardian pleaded passionately that the Government should quickly come to their aid as many of them are family people with great responsibilities.
Bennet Nwabude, who owns Shop No. 15, New Iyana Ipaja Road, one of the affected shops, said he got to know about the incident when he called at about 20 minutes past one in the night and that by the time he got there, the fire has razed down his shop and all that he had inside it.
“I had in the shop assorted electronics including television, generators, washing machine, air-conditioners, home theatre appliances, radio, tape recorders, among others valued at more than N10 million.”
According to him, we have not heard from the government despite the promise the Governor made that day.
“I want the government to compensate us because some of us have borrowed money to commence renovation of our shops since we cannot afford to be idle with responsibilities staring us in the face. We need money to equip the shops. The cost of the renovation that I am carrying out in my own shop now cannot be less than N500,000,” he said.
Aminat Adebeyo, who had her shop at 19, New Ipaja Road, said she lost to the fire goods worth millions of naira.
“I had a boutique with different types of women make ups. Fire burnt down everything and I have nothing to rely on. I am pleading with the Governor to come to our aid as he promised,” she said.
Emmanuel Obi whose shop was located at shop at 17, New Ipaja Road, said: “somebody called me in the middle of the night that my shop was on fire and before I arrived in the place, the content of the shop had been completely burnt.
“I sold drugs, provisions, cosmetics worth more than N10 million. We plead with the government to come to our aid because as it is now, we have to start all over again,” he said.
Obinna Orjiakor who had his shop at 17, New Ipaja Road and was running boutique with clothes, Italian wears among others, said: “I was at home when I was called about 1.30am that fire was burning in our shops but before I got here, everything in the shop worth almost N15 million had been completely burnt. What pained me most was that I have just collected goods that I procured with borrowed money from the bank and all had gone. I am pleading with the government to come to my aid and others as well. I do not have anything again,” he lamented.
Alhaji Jamiu Hussein Kehinde, whose shop was at 7, New Iyana Ipaja road, said:
“I sold Muslim items, gowns, books worth about N3 million. Any Muslim material that could not be found in my shop could only be got in Lagos. I want the government to come to our aid as quickly as possible,” he said.
Anthony Okafor whose shop was at 7A, New Ipaja Road said he was called at about 1.30am and that when he got to his shop there was one LT bus burning and that though the fire had not affected his shop but there was no way he could access the shop to evacuate the goods until the fire extended to it and burnt everything. “I witnessed the scene. I had in the shop electrical parts worth N5.3 million. The governor on the day he came to see what happened promised that within 48 hours, help would come to us. Some people came the second day to collect our passports and also demanded the contents of our shop but we have not heard anything from them since then. We pray the government to come to our rescue.” he pleaded.
Okeke Chukwubuike owner of Shop 7A, Ipaja Road, said: “I had in my shop electrical materials both domestic and industrial, worth about N5 million.
“I pay N200,000.00 rent every year and I am a married man. I was got a phone call at 1.30am, and before I arrived here from around Oki Primary School where I reside, the shop was already in flames. I pray the government to come to our aid as we have been rendered jobless,” he pleaded.
Another victim, Esther Fafiolu of 10/12 Oremeji Street, who operated a business centre with two desktop, two Laptop, two photocopy machines, two colour printers, two UPS, laminating machine, printer, Identity Card machine, stabilizer, generator among others worth about N2 million pleaded that the government should remember them and fulfill its promise.
Alhaji Saula Onifade, 71, is the landlord of the house, No. 19, New Ipaja road that housed several shops that were affected by the inferno.
According to one of his sons, Wale Onifade, four bed boom apartments and two bedroom boys’ quarters including the shops were razed down by the fire.
“Our father is old and unfortunately, he just lost a daughter, Nosmat Onifade, who had a shock as a result of the fire incident. This is what the incident has caused our family.
“Apart from loosing to the fire items worth millions of naira, our family also lost a soul who found it difficult to swallow the bitter pill of the consequences of the incident. What can the government give in exchange for the lost soul,” he lamented.
Mrs. Nike Kazeen had her shop at 10/12 as a hairdresser. She also sold lady’s items.
Hear her: “In addition to all the items lost to the fire including fans, television set at a cost of about N600,000.00, I also lost cash of N30,000.00. Government should kindly come to our aid, as we would have to start all over again.
“Some government officials came one day to collect information from us, but we are yet to see or hear from them again since that day. We plead with the government to have mercy on us and help us in this our sudden predicament.”
Chairman, Tricycles Riders Association, in the area, Wasiu Omisore, said:
“Some people came, I presumed from Alausa and collected our papers and got some information, but we are yet to hear from them. Six tricycles were lost to the fire, four had been taken away why two are still here,” he said.
Mrs. Deborah Ogundairo, the owner of No. 1 Bakare Jafojo Street with drugs and wine shops was said to have lost her goods to fire. Busola Dairo said the front part of the building where her shop was together with other shops were burnt with all the contents worth million of naira.
Segun Atanda who owned the vehicle that the tanker fell upon said:
“The source of my income has gone. I spent a lot of money on that vehicle to bring me good returns. The money I spent is gone and the vehicle burnt leaving me with nothing.
“Government should please come to my aid.”
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