By Eric James Ochigbo
Abuja – The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Government to order immediate investigation into the fire incident which occurred in Onitsha market on Oct. 16, 2019.
This was sequel to a unanimous adoption of a motion under matters of urgent public importance by Rep. Christopher Ezenwankwo (PDP-Anambra), at plenary on Tuesday.
The motion was co-sponsored by Rep. Lynda Ikpeazu and Rep. Valentine Ogbonna both of Anambra.
Moving the motion earlier, Ezenwankwo recalled that on Wednesday Oct. 16, 2019, a tanker loaded with Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) fell in Onitsha and burst into flames.
According to him, the fire outbreak started from the MCC axis of Onitsha, to Upper lweka and spread to lweka Road, Ochanja Market and the neighbouring residential houses.
The lawmaker said that the fire incident could not be contained by the Federal Fire Service and that the fire continued until the following day.
Ezenwankwo said that the fire incident claimed the lives of no fewer than six persons and left many injured.
“Over 30 vehicles, over, 50 houses, some with warehouses and street shops and over 500 market lockup shops were razed by the fire incident,” he said.
He said that the incident had rendered over 2,000 hardworking people homeless, jobless and had robbed them of their means of livelihood.
The Rep. said that on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019, another tanker loaded with PMS fell at the Enugu-Onitsha expressway and ignited another fire, although no lives were lost.
According to the lawmaker, after the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) rapid assessment of the incident, no feasible steps have been taken to ameliorate the hardship caused to the victims of the fire outbreak.
Ezenwankwo said that if the immediate and remote causes of the fire incidents were not determined, a proper measure to forestall future fire outbreak might not be guaranteed.
The House, therefore, called on the Federal Government to establish a Federal Fire Service Station in Onitsha.
The Reps also called on NEMA to send relief materials to the victims of the Onitsha fire incidents.
In his ruling, the Speaker of the House, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, mandated the House Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness to investigate the immediate and remote causes of the incidents.
The speaker also mandated the committee to report back to the House within four weeks for further legislative actions.