Dominic Adewole, Asaba
There was sorrow, tears and death in Agbor, Ika South council area of Delta State on Friday night as a gas plant in the locality exploded, burnt over 15 houses, burnt no fewer than 20 persons and killed three inhabitants of the area.
The ill-fated gas station – the Osadebe Gas Plant – was said to have been wrongfully approved to be cited within the residential layout.
At the Agbor Central Hospital where the victims were rushed to, men and women, boys and girls, relatives and acquaintances were seen weeping and gnashing their teeth, even as nurses and doctors were running helter-skelter trying to save the lives of the victims.
An eyewitness, Augustine Akamagule, said: “At the moment, many houses are on fire, two dead already, over 20 persons were severely burnt. We cannot ascertain the number of casualties yet because men of the fire service are still battling to put out the fire.”
A survivor, Alhaji Galadima, who cried foul over the racketeering approval of gas stations within residential areas across the state, called on Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to place heavy sanctions on violators of the extant laws on citing of petrol or gas stations.
He said he was not surprised to hear about the ugly occurrence, lamenting that the lay down rules, regarding the citing of highly inflammable products were mostly jettissioned in the oil-rich state.
Amidst cries at the gory sight of a Hilux van bringing burnt victims to the Central Hospital, an indigene of the town, who simply identified himself as Victor, said a strong wind also enhanced the fire making it difficult for people to escape the conflagration.
“You need to see how the gas flowed ferociously with wind and landing on roofs of the houses in the locality. Within a twinkle of an eye, it had ravaged the entire area with thick smoke,” he said.