The Senate Thursday, deliberated extensively on fire disasters that ravaged the Onitsha markets penultimate week and consequently asked the Federal Government through the Federal Fire Service to install fire fighting equipment in all the major markets across the country.
The red chamber gave the directive following a motion by Senator Ifeanyi Ubah ( YPP Anambra South) and two other senators from Anambra state, Messrs Uche Ekwunife (PDP Anambra Central) and Stella Oduah (PDP Anambra North), on the fuel tanker fire incident which occurred in Onitsha, Wednesday, October 16, 2019.
The Senate observed a minute silence in memory of all those who died in the inferno and resolved to send a delegation to visit and commiserate with the victims and the people of Anambra State.
The red chamber also urged the Anambra state government to unravel why the Anambra State Fire Service could not speedily respond to the emergency with a view to curtailing such incident in the future.
It commended the Federal Government for the promise to assist the victims and the affected traders with relief materials and to work with the Anambra state government to forestall future fire incidences.
The federal lawmakers, however asked the Federal Govemment to include financial support in the package to the affected persons to enable them to restart their businesses and pledged the quick passage of the Petroleum Tankers Safety Bill.
It urged the Nigerian Police Force to work in conjunction with the Federal Road Safety Corps to carry out a thorough investigation of the circumstances that led to the accident with a view to prosecuting anyone found culpable in the preventable fire incident.
Moving his motion, Ubah had noted with great sadness, the unfortunate petrol tanker inferno at Upper Iweka, Onitsha, Anambra State.
He regretted the death toll that accompanied the disaster, especially the death of a woman and her child after 16 years of childlessness.
Oduah, in her contribution, said there was the need to ensure that the drivers of the tankers were certified and were free of alcohol, hence putting a responsibility on the Federal Road Safety Corps to be testing drivers on the highways to ensure that they are not under any influence.
She said, “The Federal Government should support the states in terms of fire service. It is a major responsibility of any state to ensure that it takes the lead.
“The state should ensure that they protect people from fire. The Onitsha Market being the largest in West Africa is a goldmine for the Anambra State Government so the state government should do everything possible that this type of tragedy does not happen again.”