Three days after the tanker fire disaster at the Okugbe Community in Ahoada-West local government area of Rivers State that claimed over 100 lives, the family of a final year student of the Federal Technical College, Omoku, Mr. Nyeye Lukeya Kingdom, said that they could only confirm his death in the fire disaster with his commercial motorbike popularly known as Okada found at the scene of the incident.
A human rights activist, Ann Kio, visited the Ahoada General Hospital to console some of the surviving victims of the fire and handed the federal government a one and half years ultimatum to complete the road project and avoid a planned mass action against the further exploration of oil in the Niger Delta.
A community leader in Upatabo community in Ahoada-West LGA, Mr. Ilazu Kingdom, told Leadership that he has not been able to confirm if his brother was among the burnt victims but that his commercial motorcycle was recovered from the scene of the fire.
Kingdom said he had visited several hospitals in Ahoada Port Harcourt and Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Yenagoa with the intention of searching for his brother who left home two days ago.
But he later found the motorcycle he used at the site of the incident thus confirming the brother’s death. His brother, identified as Mr. Nyeye Lukeya Kingdom, was to finish his five-year programme at the Federal Technical College, Omoku.
LEADERSHIP SUNDAY on Friday evening visited the Ahoada General Hospital to witness a state of confusion and anguish for some families who have not been able to confirm the whereabouts or any proof of life and death of their loved ones in the fire disaster. Most of the burnt victims were unrecognisable and were given a mass burial by the Rivers State government.
Another relative, Mr. Promise Jacob of Oyigba community in Ahoada West LGA, also lost three of his relatives including Uwasanim Abadi, a civil servant, Uzuka Zurike Ipele and Gift Ogbobula, graduates of the College of Education, Omoku. He said Uzuka died when he was taken to BMH from Ahoada General Hospital.
Angered Kio who visited the scene of the fuel tanker accident also attributed the deaths to poverty in the Niger Delta region where oil is in abundance. She also blamed road users for the avoidable accident that later caused the fire which consumed a large number of fuel scavengers.
“Definitely, there will be mass action against the government if the road is not completed within the next one and half years,” said Kio.
Kio noted that the responsibility of carrying out such action is in the hands of the people of the area concerned, saying: “If the people that live off the East/West road, the Niger Delta people from Delta , Edo, Bayelsa, Rivers, Cross River, Akwa/Ibom, if we are willing to take action and take days in a week where we will block the East/West road, there should be no vehicle going either way.
Let business come to a halt. Anybody that wants to cross East-West way should wait for another 24 hours. If these actions are carried out periodically the government will listen to what we are saying.”