'I lost two children’ — victims of Abuja market fire recount ordeal - SALIENT TIMES ONLINE

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Saturday, 6 November 2021

'I lost two children’ — victims of Abuja market fire recount ordeal

By Our Correspondent



Obinna Fidelis, a resident of the federal capital territory (FCT), says he lost two daughters to the fire incident that occurred at the Kubwa market.


There was a fire at the market on Friday night when a tank used to store kerosene exploded.


At least five persons have been confirmed dead as a result of the fire, while 11 others sustained injuries.


According to Fidelis, his wife has been hospitalised.


“There was no power supply, no cooking or frying around, but all we heard was an explosion. I lost two of my daughters, Chioma and Angel, to the fire,” he said.


“My wife sells foodstuffs around here and she is presently hospitalised at the National Hospital, Abuja, with serious burns.


“The doctor told us nothing would happen to my wife, but that the injuries were too much; it’s all over her body except her breasts.”


Another victim, Queen Bulus, said she got burnt when an electricity cable fell on her hand.


“I was sitting and selling plantain. Then, the wires sparked and suddenly one of the wires from the electricity poles cut and burnt me. All I could remember was that I ran away through the back to my house and left everything I was selling which later burnt to ashes,” she said.


She added that she was taken to the hospital by her mother and was “attended to in good time”.


Meanwhile, Ramatu Aliyu, minister of state of the FCT, has asked residents to report illegal distributors of fuel, kerosene and gas to appropriate authorities.


Aliyu said this on Saturday while sympathising with victims during a visit to the market.


“Report anyone selling any flammable material near you, either gas, fuel or kerosene. Report anyone that is not a legalised distributor of flammable materials or chemicals as there are depots made for things like these,” she said.


“There are assigned gas depots across the FCT and the government is still making more efforts to give us more gas plants. Natural disasters can occur anywhere but gas depots, most times, are kept away from humans.


“These laws are made to protect us, no matter the impact of the law. When we send development control officials, you will be aggrieved and feel it is an infringement on your fundamental human rights. But these laws are to protect you. The dangers would have been worse than the impact of these laws.


“We are lucky there was prompt support and response of the federal and FCT fire services.


“As we speak, there are more tanks seen with kerosene. If we had that much ripple effect, it would have been simultaneous and we would have lost more lives and property in this hard time.


“For instance, this is a tank near a high tension wire, transformer and should there be a spark, it would be a ripple effect that will destroy thousands.”


On his part, Muhideen Lasisi, chief medical director, Kubwa general hospital, said the hospital recorded five deaths, while 11 people survived with burns.

 
“We have 11 living and five bodies brought to this hospital. What the hospital has done in synergy with the government and security agencies is an example of service to the people,” he said.


“The minister has shown willingness and commitment to bear the cost of the service.”