How hoodlums went on looting spree as fire raged, by eyewitness
A late night gas tanker explosion at Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Ikeja, Lagos Thursday claimed five lives, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said on Friday.
The explosion affected the nearby Ogun State Property Investment Company (OPIC) Plaza where the manager of a Chinese restaurant and two of his colleagues were killed on the spot.
The plaza houses dozens of organisations including the Chinese restaurant.
The ensuing pandemonium paved the way for hoodlums to embark on a looting spree, according to a businessman in the plaza.
Mr Seun Peters, Managing Director, Rolling Video Games, said he suffered enormous losses on account of the looting.
Spokesperson for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr. Ibrahim Farinloye, said the bodies of the Chinese restaurant manager and his two colleagues were recovered yesterday morning.
Two other persons died of burns in the hospital yesterday.
“The latest is that we just recovered three dead bodies this morning, which was beyond our expectation,” Farinloye said on Channels Television.
He said: “Yesterday, we made a headcount and management officials of the plaza were around, officials of all the organisations using the plaza were around; only one boy was claimed to be missing and, unfortunately, we could not trace the boy yesterday night.
“Unfortunately, when we got there this morning, we saw three dead – one Mr Balogun who was the manager of the Chinese restaurant. He was recovered with two other personnel of the restaurant.”
He said it appeared the victims were trying to escape from the building when they died.
The casualties figure was corroborated by the Director General of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu.
In all, 13 people – four women and nine men – were injured while 25 vehicles were burnt.
Also speaking on the incident, Lagos State Special Duties Commissioner, Tayo Bamgbose-Martins, said three victims died
at the scene while two died in the hospital.
His words: “Lives were lost. We had about 13 people rescued, but we understand that out of the 13 people, we’ve lost two of them, which means that we’ve only rescued 11.
“We’ve recovered three bodies again this morning. They’ve started moving them away from here.”
He said a special committee set up by the state government was working to end gas explosions in the state.
How hoodlums worsened our losses, by businessman
Businessman Seun Peters decried the looting of his office by hoodlums during the gas explosion.
Peters, the Managing Director, Rolling Video Games, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that his company, located in the plaza, suffered several losses on account of the incident.
Counting his losses, Peters said three of his company’s vehicles were burnt.
He said hoodlums “tried to break into my van and my office was looted.”
“I wonder why. Because if there is a fire incident? I don’t know why people will now use that opportunity to try to loot offices and shops.
“I think they should stop this dangerous trend when places are burning, rather than look for a solution to it, hoodlums try to take that opportunity to loot.”
He said the office was vandalised by the hoodlums who carted away some cash, electronic gadgets and wristwatches.
“Luckily, they didn’t take any of my documents because obviously they are not useful to them. But the whole place is in a mess,’’ Peters said.