Over 50 shops have been destroyed following a fuel tanker explosion at Lambatta in the Gurara Local Government Area of Niger.
The incident occurred around 11 pm on Sunday.
It was learned that the Premium Motor Spirit-laden tanker exploded after crashing into a truck and the ensuing fire engulfed nearby shops, vehicles, and other property.
Our correspondent gathered that the truck fell down and immediately caught fire.
Over 50 shops as well as vehicles were burnt before the firefighters from Suleja responded to extinguish the inferno.
An official of the Federal Road Service Corps, who spoke on condition of anonymity, put the probable cause of the crash to loss of control by the drivers of the vehicles.
Our correspondent reported that victims of the incident were counting their losses, while personnel of the FRSC was trying to control the traffic and the fire service preventing the fire from escalating to adjoining property.
One of the affected traders, Julian Aluko, said she lost all her goods to the inferno.
Aluko lamented, “I am in a hopeless situation now as I have lost everything and I don’t know how to cope with my six children without a husband; it is quite unfortunate.
“I couldn’t pick anything from my shop. Not even a pin. I have six children and now I just don’t know how I will be able to train them. My husband is late and it is from the shop that I am training the children.”
Another victim, Friday Amaechi, whose four shops were completely burnt down, lamented his losses, saying the incident had left an indelible mark on him.
“The five shops that I labored for years have all gone and it looks as if I have sinned against my destiny. I don’t know where to go. I owe those who supply goods to me on credit,” he said.
The Chairman, Gurara Local Government Area, Yusuf Wali, blamed the incident on the recklessness of tanker drivers, who also park their vehicles indiscriminately by the roadside.
Wali said despite efforts to stop the ugly situation, the tanker drivers had refused to heed his directive.
The Director-General, Niger State Emergency Management Agency, Ahmed Inga, confirmed the incident, saying, “We have assessed the level of damage and will report to the government.
“The governor has directed that we carry out an assessment of the situation and that is what we have done. No life was lost, but two trucks, two motorcycles, 49 shops, and four residential apartments with 16 rooms were burnt down.
“It is really unfortunate that this happened, but we believe that the state government will come to the aid of the victims. In the meantime, I urge the victims to remain calm.”