Ogbogwu Market Explosion: Panel Recommends Isolated market for Combustible chemicals, Compensation for Victims

Ogbogwu Market Explosion: Panel Recommends Isolated market for Combustible chemicals, Compensation for Victims

Ogbogwu Market Explosion: Panel Recommends Isolated market for Combustible chemicals, Compensation for Victims

...Says 4 persons died, not 8 earlier reported by some media

By Uzo Ugwunze

The Panel of inquiry Committee which was inaugurated on June 8, 2022 by the State government through the Onitsha South LG Chairman Chief Emeka Orji to investigate, make an inquest, explore the remote and immediate causes of the Ogbogwu Bridgehead market explosion incident that happened on Nov.8,2022 and give recommendations  has submitted their reports to the Onitsha South LG Chairman.

The investigation panel has suggested that traders dealing on combustible chemicals in the Ogbogwu International market should be isolated to forestall future occurance adding that families of the 4 persons who lost their lives, those wounded and those whose shops were demolished in the inferno or while trying to gain access to stop the fire should be properly compensated.

The Chairman of the 9- members committee, Sir Peter Okala before the hand over at the chairman's office at the LGA Secretariat said that at the cause of the investigation, they discovered that the cause of the explosion was chemical reaction, not a bomb blast as insinuated or assumed by some people.

“So many members of bridge head market sustained injuries and some are still in the hospital while one members leg was amputated, three unions was affected by the explosion, ogbogwu international market, chain saw and allied and PS Union.

“The rebuilding of shops has started extensively with the approved plan from the Onitsha South Local Government.

“The dead and the injured have not been compensated, the person /persons that caused the explosion is a registered member of the PS union, and has disappeared, had not entered the market since then.

“Members are agitating for the chemical line to be moved outside the market and the promise from the government to assist in rebuilding the demolished shops has not been fulfilled.

“Victims paid #50,000.00 each, totaling 1.6M to the PG Bridge head and demanding  for refund. We discovered that only four persons lost their lives contrary to insinuations and the source of the explosion contrary to insinuations was from a registered member of Progressive Science Union (PS) volunteered the information.

The Secretary of the panel of inquiry Committee, Dr Frank Udemmadu revealed that they reached out to an erudite Professor Emeritus, Prof. Okeruru, a chemist from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka and he gave them detailed information on chemicals that are inflammable and combustible.

“He pointed that some categories of chemicals are not supposed to stored in a hot or humid areas and in a densely populated environment.

The Panel of inquiry Committee recommended that government should provide firefighting equipments for bridge head market and fire trucks should be stationed at the market.

“Chemicals of explosive, corrosive and inflammable nature should be banned  from all markets in the state. Those that died and the injured has not been compensated, the government should do the needful.

"Government should foot bills for the rebuilding of the agops, most especially, the ones that were brought down to create access for rescue operation and members that lost goods worth hundreds if millions should be compensated as well.

“The affected members that paid#50,000 to the PG of the market should be refunded without hesitation. We do not subscribe for the chemical line to be removed from the market but to monitor, control and make sure that those combustible chemicals be checkmated by formation of a strong task force for the union of the market and other markets in the state.

“The government should provide alternative power source to the markets in the state, most especially solar powered,etc  

In his response, the Onitsha South Local Government Chairman, Hon.Emeka Orji thanked the committee for their job, stated that handling of chemicals issues in the market will be his next target and stated that his next project will be provision of head bridge service station while he promised to finish what he has started

“I'm working very hard to reconstruct and rebuild a new Onitsha south, I want to build an ultra modern market at Ochanja, I started with oduigbo, I demolished it and I will rebuilt it and other parts of the market will follow suit.

Others that spoke at the event was the Chairman of chain saw and products Chief Onyebuchi Umeh, Chairman Stakeholder and leaders of thought, Chief Bonaventure Ucheagwu, the Legal adviser to Counsil Chairman Chief Stanley Okakor Esq and the Council Secretary Mr Paul Onuachalla.

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