Idimu Petrol Tanker Fire Victims Want New Lives
THREE-year-old Mubarak was playing around the bushy vicinity of one of the bungalows where his mother and others who were displaced by the Idimu tanker explosion were housed.
Apparently Mubarak did not see any difference from where he was living in Idimu and their new house at the camp as long as his parents are there to provide him food and other necessities.
But inside the bungalow with many double iron beds was his mother, bemoaning her colossal loss. She readily told The Guardian that prior to the inferno, she lived happily in the comfort of her home, traded in the same area and mingled with her loved ones. But today, she is in a secluded place provided by Lagos state with no ray of hope.
She quickly admitted that she was not rich but the profit she made from selling soft drinks was enough to sustain her and her son.
Close to tears, the way she fixed her eyes on the ceiling of the room suggested that her heart was troubled with the thought of what tomorrow holds for her at a time like this. She sat like every other persons in the bungalow, puzzling on how to pick up with the remains of her life.
Refusing to disclose her name, Mubarak’s mother said her only hope is in God and the State government. She hopes to get help from the State government and move on with her life.
When asked of her husband, she tactically dodged the question. “All I want is to get out of the camp and start a new life”, she said.
Another victim, Mrs. Tawa Lamina of 266, Idimu-Ejigbo Road simply said she wants a new life after she had lost all she had to the inferno. Lamina wants the State government to give them some money to start a new life, no matter how small. “Though Lagos State government has been feeding us three times a day and gave us shelter, we also need a new life. I deal in wine and all I had have been razed,” she lamented.
With a deep blue wrapper on her body and less than a year-old baby in her hand, Mrs. Temitope Adejumo, a food vendor hurriedly came to meet the reporter, believing a messiah from government has come. She soon realized that that was not so when she learnt that he was a reporter from the The Guardian.
Nevertheless, Adejumo managed to respond to the questions. She said: “I came to the camp with my four children and they have been having three square meals since three days ago. We are fine here but we just wish we could return to our normal lives soon. Government has really tried but they need to do more by giving us a new hope.”
Appreciating God for saving her life and that of her four children, she described the incident as a tragedy that took her unawares. “I came out nude; I couldn’t take anything but I thank God my children were not consumed. I will be glad if I get money to start a new life”.
Another woman, in her late 30s, emerged from one of the rooms. Mrs. Taiwo Olarewaju came out with a baby boy strapped to her back, saying: “I am fine here but I would be eternally grateful to the Lagos State government if I could be funded to start a new life. All I had have gone with the inferno and my husband is not here”.
Miss Ochang Lovina, a hairstylist and her mother, Mrs. Ochang seem to have resigned to fate as they beamed with smiles. But their response was different. They complained of the food quality, saying that the type of seasoning being used in cooking the food purges them.
As for the environment, Lovina, her mother, with three other children said they are satisfied with the environment and LASEMA’s gesture of feeding them thrice daily.
“Although the comfort of our house is better, we thank God we have accommodation”, they echoed. They however want government to give them money so that they can start a new life. “We are very sad that we lost all we have worked for but we thank God for our lives. Governor Akinwumi Ambode is giving us food, clothes and shelter. I sell food for people but now I am doing nothing”, Mrs Ochang said.
Mrs. Muibatu Owolabi of 7, Idimu-Ejigbo Road came to the centre with four of her children. She also recounted how her shops were razed. Owolabi simply wants government to help her to start a new life.
Mrs. Kudi Abu,a fruit and wine seller came with four children but all her belongings and the sum of N200,000 were consumed by the fire. She equally wants government to at least assist them to move on with their lives.
Moving rounds the premises, some men were seen drinking beer perhaps to drown their sorrows. And tt the kitchen, two women were busy cooking the recently slaughtered cow.
At his 21, Idimu-Egbe Road residence, a 140-year-old man, Ramon Agbogunleri whose house was razed by the inferno cried to government for help. The two houses Agbogunleri managed to build from the proceeds of tomato and other farm products some decades ago were gutted by the inferno.
Lying on his back on a bed, he urged government to come to his rescue. With tears-soaked face, he said: “Government should help me build my house because that is the only source of my livelihood. I can’t work again; rents paid by tenants are what I use in sustaining myself. I want government to help me rebuild my houses.”
Camp Commandant, Mr. Saibu Akeem confirmed that 369 displaced people were admitted into the camp. According to him, others who are homeless are still coming. Asked if the Lagos State government has any other plans for the displaced people rather than the housing and feeding they are presently enjoying, Akeem declared that government has plans for them but the details of the plans are unknown to him.
Isaac Aiyejuyomi, the Deputy Camp Commandant, disclosed that the camp has a clinic in case of emergency.
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