Cross River State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has said that it will compel companies involved in the Sunday fire disasters where it was alleged that over thirty persons died and another thirty suffered various degrees of burns to pay compensation to deceased families.
Speaking with DAILY POST on phone on Tuesday, the SEMA Director General, Mr John Inaku who lamented the situation said that his agency had started compiling names of the affected households and looking forward to assisting them.
“SEMA is working toward assisting those who are still alive and we are equally looking toward those who lose their lives and say, those companies involved to pay good compensation and also considering so many other ways to assist the victims,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the death toll of Sunday fire disasters at the Calabar Free Trade Zone (CFTZ) in Cross River State is increasing per day as over three persons who were recieving treatment at the hospital have been reported dead.
It would be recalled that over thirty persons were allegedly burnt to death when fire engulfed part of the Calabar Free Trade Zone (CFTZ) in the early hours of Sunday while 30 others suffered various degrees of burns.
Investigations revealed that a worker was trying to siphon PMS from a vessel and opened one of the valves, unfortunately the gasket on the valve failed and the pressure threw him off, then the product started pouring into the gutter.
An eye witness who gave his name as Ikenga Uti said PMS flowed from that valve to the gutter and people started scooping it with various containers; some came with drums while some came with stainless steel buckets as well as rubber buckets.
“It was in the process of scooping that the fire started from outside and followed the product trail in the gutter back to LINC oil and gas and to Nigeria ports Authority (NPA) where it entered a vessel also loaded with PMS but was put off by the people on board, as am talking to you, we brought out 8 bodies from LINC oil and gas and about six people who were scooping fuel outside the gate also died”
“The people scooping said that the fire was sparked by somebody who was smoking cigarette close to one of the gutters that the product was flowing through while some said it was a spark from one of the stainless steel buckets but all that doesn’t matter anymore and a lot of people were severely burnt, in a long time the company has not been load this is their first product in a long while and there were no trucks on queue yet, it would have been worse”
Another witness who pleaded anonymity said that the incident was caused due to greed and pure sabotage. The fire was due to illegal activities in one of the tank farms. “For now I can tell you that the safety manager and some security personnel from the company are dead, this tragedy was caused because someone was greedy”