At least five people lost their lives while eight others were injured when a tanker, loaded with petrol, lost control at the Amawbia roundabout, Anambra State. The premises of the Anambra State Fire Service and security post of the state Governor’s Lodge in Amawbia were also affected. At least nine cars, houses and 23 shops were also gutted by the fire. The explosion occurred about 8.40pm on Saturday. According to a witness, the 40ft tanker, coming from Amawbia bypass and tried to negotiate the roundabout connecting the Zik Avenue when it suddenly lost control, crashed and immediately exploded. Policemen were quickly drafted to the scene to ensure hoodlums do not capitalise on the situation to loot people’s property. Leader of the Hausa community in Amawbia, Alhaji Mamood Sani, disclosed that five of his subjects died in the fire, while one person is missing. He said: “The incident occurred in front of our residence, where we do business.
The victims sell suya and food items, but some sell other goods. We have been living in Amawbia for decades. “We were lucky to have evacuated women and children, so it only affected our men. As I’m speaking with you right now, five persons have died and one person is missing. Those injured were rushed to Nwarusi Hospital and others are at Amaku General Hospital and Regina Celia Hospital in Awka.”
Sani said what he lost to the fire was about N6 million, including property and goods belonging to traders. He appealed to the state government and well-meaning Nigerians to come to their assistance. Reacting to the incident, Governor Willie Obiano promised that his government would offset the bills of those in the hospital. The governor promised that those whose property were destroyed in the explosion would be compensated. He said: “What happened is unfortunate. We pray God to grant those who lost their lives eternal rest and for those in the hospitals, we shall offset their medical bills and also compensate those whose businesses were affected by the fire.”
The tanker driver was nowhere to be found. One of the security operatives said: “When the head of the tanker disengaged from the vehicle, the driver shouted that the vehicle would explode. We stopped him from escaping. “But when the tanker exploded and the fire started, we had to help and save the situation. I believe that was when he ran away.” The vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Peter Obi, has also expressed concern over the explosion. Speaking at the scene yesterday, Obi said he was saddened when he got the news.