The National Inland Waterways Authority NIWA has urged the Anambra State Government to make more investments in the areas of procurement of firefighting equipment and other related facilities to forestall a reocurrence of the fire incident that engulfed Onitsha, the commercial nerve centre not only for the state but the entire south east.

Recall that the city, which also houses NIWA’s Onisha River Port, was engulfed in a terrible fire disaster last Wednesday at the Upper Iweka end of the city, after a 33,000-litre diesel tanker fell and caught fire, which could not be contained by the state’s fire service, leading to the destruction of several buildings and shops worth hundreds of millions of naira.

In a letter signed by the Managing Director of the authority, George Moghalu, who also hails from the state, NIWA expressed sympathy to the government and people of the state over the incident.

He however urged the state government to invest more in acquiring more firefighting equipment and facilities to avoid a repeat of such ugly incident.

The letter entitled “Commiseration Message to the Government and People of Anambra State from NIWA”, reads in part: “On behalf of the management and staff of the National Inland Waterways Authority NIWA, we wish to commiserate with the people of Onitsha in particular and Anambra State in general over the unfortunate incident of fuel tanker explosion that resulted in colossal loss of lives and property.

“The Managing Director of NIWA, Chief George Moghalu, as a stakeholder in Anambra State condoles with the affected families and prays that such ugly incident does not occur again.

“He urges the Anambra State Government to invest more in firefighting equipment and facilities to safeguard future occurrence”   

It was gathered that the incident, which occurred around 12:44 p.m., on that fateful day, could not be put out until around 7pm following the intervention of the fire service in Asaba, Delta State, since Fire Service Officials from Anambra State got to the scene of the fire promptly but could not put out the fire as their water pump was said to have developed a fault.

Traders who lost their wares and cash hidden in the burnt shops have been recounting their ordeal, blaming their huge losses on the inefficiency of the fire service officials of the state.

Meanwhile, the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano had Friday visited the scene of the accident and pledged the government’s commitment to compensate and rehabilitate the victims.