At least 49 shops, 4 residential houses, and two motorcycles have been engulfed by fire at Lambata in the Gurara Local Government Area of Niger State, following a tanker explosion in the area.
The explosion occurred at the late hour of Sunday after a tanker laden with petrol collided with a tanker.
The tanker driver who was on his way from the Suleja axis of the road was said to have lost control and rammed into the trailer which was Minna and heading towards Suleja.
The collision led to an explosion, which affected the shops and the residential houses by the roadside.
Goods worth millions of Naira have also been burnt to ashes.
One of the affected persons, Julian Aluko, a widow with six children said she lost all her goods and wonders how she will be able to cope with her children.
“I couldn’t pick anything from my shop. Not even a pin. I have six children and now I just don’t know how I train them. My husband has died, and since then it is from the shop that I train my children,” Aluko said.
Another trader, Friday Amaechi whose four shops were completely razed down lamented about his losses, describing it as an eternal scar on him that he would never heal from till his death.
“Four shops that I have laboured for years have all gone. I am short of words. I don’t know where to go. I am owing many people’s credit. Because I collected the goods on credit,” he said.
Chairman of Gurara local government area, Yusuf Wali blamed the incident on the recklessness of tanker drivers who also park their vehicles indiscriminately by the roadside.
He said despite efforts to stop the ugly situation, the tanker drivers have refused to heed to the directive.
On scene to access the level of damage were officials of both the State Emergency Management Agency led by the Director-General, Ahmed Inga, and the National Emergency Management Agency.
Mr Inga said, “The Governor has directed that we carry out an assessment of the situation, and that is what we have done. No life has been lost, but two trucks, two motorcycles, 49 shops, and four residential apartments with sixteen rooms have been burnt down. It is really unfortunate what has happened, but we believe the state government will come to their aid. In the meantime, I urge the victims to remain calm.”
This is not the first time such an incident will occur at Lambata, in 2004 when a tanker went up in flames, at least three persons were killed.
The state government in recent times, has issued directives warning tanker drivers against indiscriminate parking of their vehicles. But, not much has been done in enforcing the directive as the trend has continued.