Saturday, 20 January 2018

How A Lagos Businesswoman Died In Gas Explosion While Helping Her Neighbour Sell Cooking Gas To His Customer

Mrs. Remi Olatunji went early to the place of her business last Monday, without the faintest idea that tragedy, in its one of its most vicious manners, was near. As unfortunate as things panned out, she had gone out of her way, seeking to help her neighbour attend to one of his customers, New Telegraph reports.

The said neighbour, Chidera Okechukwu, is the gas supplier to many on retail basis in the area. Yet to return after travelling down to the east for the festive period, according to witnesses, 39-yearold Mrs. Olatunji saw it as a duty not just to open his shop but to help attend to his customers before the shattering explosion that followed without warning, turned her act of kindness into one of untold horror. 
Not only did the explosion leave her head separated from her body, the explosion also shattered the customer who had come calling that morning.
With bits of customer’s dismembered body littering the ground and roof top moments after the blast, not even a commercial okada rider and his female passenger nearby were spared in the crossfire. Being a hair stylist by profession in the Ajara Vetho area of the border town of Badagry, a customer that late Olatunji was attending to shortly before going over to help her neighbour was also caught in the crossfire of the all-consuming inferno. Two other female neighbours, a bead maker and an apprentice at a fashion design outfit directly opposite the gas shop, were also killed in the explosion.
At first glance, the blast, which shook the foundations of all adjoining buildings around, shattering all glass doors and windows in the process, looked like a suicide bombing attack. What makes it even more striking was the casualty figure, with six persons dead on the spot and many others, including passersby and nearby residents, severely injured.
With the sheer force of the blast, many in entire neighbourhood initially thought it was a bomb or attack of sorts, leading many of them to run for dear lives. Residents who spoke to Saturday Telegraph, claimed they had never experienced any such incident before apart from seeing it in movies or when reported on television and social media platforms. According to neighbours and eyewitnesses around, all fingers regarding the explosion point to a lack of ventilation in the shop were the canisters of the oxygen gas were cramped.
Apart from being in a container shop that lacked any form of ventilation, the canisters might have been leaking as a result of severe heat or damaged cylinder heads. Others alleged that with the gas probably leaking as such, the use of GSM phones close to the gas shop might have ignited the explosion that led to utter loss of lives and devastation. Some people who spoke to our correspondent said the blame must rest on government for not doing enough to regulate the proliferation of retail gas sellers who are not trained to handle the highly inflammable substance and are seemingly at liberty to do the gas business even from their bedrooms.
They lashed out at both the federal and state governments, especially the NNPC for promoting the use of gas in the country and urging Nigerians to turn to gas without availing them of precaution tips for both retail sellers and end users due to the volatile nature of gas.
Residents said efforts made to reach Mr. Chidera Okechukwu, owner of the gas shop which caused the carnage in the area, had been unsuccessful so far with his telephone lines apparently switched off. However, his landlord, Mr. Whesu Hunnegbede (better known as Oga mi sir) was briefly detained for questioning by the police in a bid to unravel how to get hold of Okechukwu before he was granted bail.

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