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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Onitsha chemical explosion: markets shut as govt sends caterpillars to evacuate debris



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By Chuks Eke
Barely four days after an explosion rocked chemical line of Onitsha drug market which claimed at least three lives and injured seven others, Anambra state government has sent two bulldozers and heavy duty trucks to evacuate the debris at the scene of the incident.
As a result, the entire drug market popularly known as Ogbogwu and some parts of Tools and Allied section of the Bridgehead market affected by the explosion were closed for business.
Chairman of the drug market, Hon. Ndubuisi Chukwuleta who disclosed this yesterday at the evacuation site, said contrary to previous reports that four lives were lost to the incident, only three were confirmed dead, while seven sustained various degrees of injuries at the last count so far.
Flanked by some executive members of the drug market, including the Secretary-General, Sir Chigozie Obiayo; Assistant Secretary, Bro. Benjamin Akudo; Provost, Sir Bob Onyeka; Treasurer, Ken Olisaeke and Chibuzor Anozie, PRO, Chukwuleta disclosed that three lines of the drug market and some lines at lines in the nearby Tools and Allied marked were razed down as a result of the explosion.
Also flanked by other members of the executive committee, including Prince Emeka Nwogu, Clement Machie, Benjamin Ikebata, Samuel Nnonyelu, Samuel Ndibe, Sunday Igwe, Chris Umeh, Israel Onyebuchi, Ernest Nwafor and Ikejiofor Chibueze, Chukwuleta further disclosed that more than 400 shops were razed down by the inferno ignited by the explosion.
He added that the owner of the particular chemical shop that exploded and spread to other shops is still on the run, adding that those injured are still responding to treatments in the hospitals where they were rushed to.
Commending the state government for deploying the bulldozers and heavy duty trucks currently carrying out the evacuation exercise, with the supervision of Onitsha South Local Government authority, the drug market boss pleaded with politicians, groups and individuals to come to the assistance of the victims, now that his executive is overseeing the medical expenses of the injured victims.
He disclosed that the market would bounce back to business as soon as the evacuation exercise is completed by next week
Also speaking, former chairman of the Bridgehead market, Hon. Emeka Ezeanyika who noted that he was still in shock, commended the drug market executive committee for passing sleepless nights since the incident and called on the state government and voluntary organizations to come to the aid of the victims whose shops and goods were consumed by the inferno.
Secretary-General of the drug market, Sir Obiayo and the Assistant Secretary, Benjamin Akudo commended the officers and men of the Bridgehead Division of the Nigeria Police for their gallant efforts at protecting the market and its environs from vandals since the incident occurred.
Obiayo and Akudo noted that the monetary value of goods lost to the inferno is still unquantifiable at the moment and solicited for both financial and material assistance to the victims, just as the flood victims are still counting their losses.

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