Factual Pursuit of Truth for Progress
Four persons have reportedly died, while 12 others sustained varying degrees of injuries, following an explosion at the Onitsha Chemical Market on Tuesday.
The explosion, which occurred at about 12:45pm, led to stampede, and later fire, leading to the destruction of goods worth over N850million
The four persons were reported to have died as a result of stampede as traders scampered for safety.
A trader, identified as Nweke Uchenna told newsmen that “Chairman of Onitsha South Local Government Area, Mr Emeka Orji contacted the Anambra State Fire Service boss, Martin Agbili, who deployed officers of the department from Okpoko in Ogbaru Local Government Area and that of Asaba in Delta State.
“Also the Council Chairman contacted the DPO Fegge, Rabiu Garuba who deployed officers and men to the market to guarantee security of goods and other properties belonging to the traders,” the source said.
He added that “We were at our shops as usual when we heard a loud noise like a bomb blast and we saw thick smoke from some shops upstairs and everyone started running for safety.
“Then people started shouting for help and we saw people carrying traders from those shops that were on fire and some were burnt badly, while some seem to have been suffocated by the smoke and the stampede.
“We don’t know how much that has been lost to the fire but it can be estimated at N850million to about N1 billion because the goods are strong chemical products that are highly inflammable,” he said.
The incident was confirmed by the Anambra State Police command spokesperson, DSP Toochukwu Ikenga.
He said: “The casualty figure is not certain now, but our operatives led by DCP John Ogbodoaga are still there, and the situation has been brought under control.”