Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has said he lacks words to even express his profound grief and shock at the unfortunate tanker fire incident that claimed the lives of over 120 people in Okogbe community of Ahoada West Local Government Area of the State.
Speaking during a condolence visit to the community, at the palace of the traditional ruler of the town, HRH Joshua Eyiba, Eze Igbu Igbuduya, Governor Amaechi in an emotion-ladened, grief-stricken voice said, ”it is with a lot of grief that I have come to visit you…I would say to you that I am confused, I don’t know exactly how to condole you because the people who are dead now as huge as the number, are also Rivers people that I superintend over and therefore I am as pained as you are. What do I tell you, what do I tell the community, knowing none of us has the capacity to bring back to life those who were burnt to death”.
Governor Amaechi who said the tanker fire incident was tragic and devastating, stated that there is still need to enlighten the people alive in the area and the state generally not to ever take the risk of scooping petroleum products wherever the product may be found.
”There is a need for enlightenment, that people should know that no matter how bad it is for anybody, it is better to be alive than to go pursuing death. Let this tragedy not happen to us again. Let the fight against poverty not be so desperate as to take as many lives as it has sadly taken with this single fire incident”, Amaechi added.
”As Christians we should leave to God what has happened and continue to pray to God not to allow this unfortunate incident to happen in any part of Nigeria again. I want to express my deep condolences to you and to the community. The State Government will continue to take care of the medical needs of those who survive and are in our hospitals. We will continue to do that untill they are okay and strong enough to leave. I have directed the commissioner for Special
Duties to seek out and identify the families of the victims. As a government we will sit down and look at what we can do for them, to assist them in some way to cushion the effects of this tragic incident on their lives…
The Rivers State governor used the occasion to assure the traditional ruler that his administration would continue to bring to the area developmental projects that will benefit the people.
Apart from the completed model primary school and a primary health care centre in the area about to be completed, Governor Amaechi reiterated his government’s determination to provide electricity for all rural areas in the State.
Responding, HRH Joshua Eyiba, Eze Igbu Igbuduya said his people had been mourning those who lost their lives in the unfortunate tanker fire disaster. He thanked Governor Amaechi for coming to sympathize with them.
Earlier, Governor Amaechi was taken round the scene of the fire incident by Hon. Asita Honourable who described in graphic details what happened on that black Thursday. Amaechi also visited the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) to sympathize with victims receiving treatment at the hospital. He assured that the State government would continue to do all it can for them.