President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed sadness over the tragic deaths from the tanker fire incident that claimed several lives and properties at the Ochanja market in Onitsha Anambra State.
In a statement by the Special Assistant on Media and Publicity Garba Shehu, President Buhari said:
“I am profoundly touched by the sight of the charred remains of an innocent mother and her child who are victims of this tragedy,” the president was quoted as saying
“I also extend my sympathies to other victims of the explosion whose houses, shops and other property were destroyed in the mishap.”
The president explained that “while I express sadness over this tragedy, I must at the same time call for urgent action on the part of those concerned to stem these frequent fatal disasters on public roads.”
According to him, “safety precautions and routine maintenance are taken for granted by vehicle owners.”
Mr Buhari called “on the Ministry of Transport, the Federal Road Safety Commission and other stakeholders to urgently address the issue of safety standards in the country, with a view to stemming the embarrassing frequency of these tragedies.”
A witness who did not want to be named said that no fewer than four persons had so far died in the incident.
“I saw four lifeless bodies, while a number of persons are still trapped in a building still burning,” he said.
Some commercial banks quickly closed as the fire was spreading close to them at Ochanja Market junction.
Some residents criticised the state government for not equipping the state fire service to adequately respond to fire outbreaks.
They blamed the spread of the fire to non-provision of adequate fire service equipment that would have been used to stop the fire from spreading further.