The Nigerian Senate has asked the federal government to set up firefighting gear in major markets across the country following a tragic fire outbreak at the Onitsha markets on Wednesday, October 16.
This resolution was reached after Senator Ifeanyi Ubah and two other legislators –Uche Ekwunife and Stella Oduah– from Anambra State moved a motion on the fuel tanker incident that triggered the Onitsha fire.
The Red Chamber which observed a minute silence in memory of all those who died in the inferno, also resolved to send a delegation to visit and commiserate with the victims and the people of Anambra State.
The house also urged the Anambra State Government to unravel why the Anambra State Fire Service could not speedily respond to the emergency with a view to curtailing such incident in future.
It went on to commend the Federal Government for its promise to assist the victims and the affected traders with relief materials and to work with the Anambra State Government to forestall future fire incidences.
The lawmakers, however, asked the Federal Government to include financial support in the package for the affected persons to enable them to restart their businesses and pledged the quick passage of the Petroleum Tankers Safety Bill.
Moving his motion, Ubah had noted with great sadness, the unfortunate petrol tanker inferno at Upper Iweka, Onitsha, Anambra State.
He regretted the death toll that accompanied the disaster especially the deaths of a woman and her child, who was born after 16 years of infertility.
Oduah, in her contribution, said there was the need to ensure that the drivers of the tankers were certified and were not under the influence of alcohol hence putting the responsibility on the Federal Road Safety Corps to carry out tests on drivers plying the nation’s highways.
She said, “The Federal Government should support the states in terms of fire service. It is a major responsibility of any state to ensure that it takes the lead.
“The state should ensure that they protect people from fire. The Onitsha Market being the largest in West Africa is a goldmine for the Anambra State Government so the state government should do everything possible that this type of tragedy does not happen again.”