EDITORIAL-When Tragedy Knocks

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When Tragedy Knocks

Life is said to be made up of many ups and downs, twists and turns. Its cycles are quite unpredictable, and sometimes we are tossed about by the unfamiliar winds it brings. Experience has taught us that life has many phases and each of these phases need the right face, but situations come when the right face seem to have fled at the sight of a particular phase, days when sorrow set its tent on our face. What then is left to be done, is it to break down and remain broken?

Last week wasn’t a pleasant one for the country, as we felt the pains of the cold burrows of tragedies cut through our humanity. Where lives and wealth were trapped in flames and humbled to ashes. On Wednesday 16th of October, 2019, no fewer than six buildings and shops and lives were burnt at Upper Iweka and Ochanja area of Onitsha, after a 33,000-litre diesel tanker fell, spilt its content on the road and caught fire, leaving nerve wrecking sights of fire mangled bodies and buildings.

Less than 48 hours after the tanker explosion, another petrol tanker fire hits Onitsha, when a petrol tanker laden with petrol fell in the middle of Onitsha/Enugu Expressway in the middle of the road on Friday razing down sweat stocked up for years. Barely twenty-four hours after this, no fewer than 300 shops and goods worth millions of naira were on Saturday 19th of October, 2019, swallowed up in the bowel of flames that engulfed the Santana market on Sapele road in Benin, Edo. The cause of the fire is still unknown.

Traders at the popular Otowodo market in Ughelli of Delta State began counting their own losses barely twenty-four hours after this, as unknown fire hungrily devoured the market until it was quenched by some youths. The cause of the fire is still unknown.

Obviously these tragedies are rather too much for one’s plate to contain and for it to be taking place in a particular geopolitical zone in the country just in the space of a week that is enough to make even the spirit of the strongest weak.

The sequence and nature of these incidents are enough to hang the eyebrows on the forehead, and so can actually forgive ones suspicion, when one begins to question whether these tragedies are but mere coincidences or that there is more to it.  But that would be a topic for another day.

In the meantime we should be focused on the remote causes of these incidents; over speeding, reckless driving, irresponsibility on the part of the fire service men, epileptic power supplies etc. these are things that need to be checked.


The way some of these big vehicles drivers recklessly bully their way through the roads as if they are the sole users of the road is really terrific. The poor response of fire service men in the country is not commendable. The way they show up hours after the last vestige of what could be saved is lost in ashes.

The epileptic power supply that often leave people in the dark for weeks, that often make them forget that they have electric wires buried in their walls. Thus the day power actually comes and there is an upsurge when nobody is there, it can cause great damages. Individuals should equally do their part in this regard, by ensuring their electrical appliances are switched off when not in use.

The government can equally play a great role by charging the appropriate departments at the helm of affairs in these different places to be up and doing in their functions, and be quick to penalize any department that fails in its duty. If possible, separate lanes for these heavy vehicles, so as to regulate the mayhem they enrich when involved in accidents.

Compassion remains a universal language that travels beyond boundaries. Therefore it would be a great service to our common patrimony to reach out to the victims of these ugly incidents in this past week, some of whom have lost their loved ones, those who have been rendered homeless, jobless and helpless. They should not be left in the streets or let their necks kiss the round edges of a noose, for that maybe if care is not taken, the birth of another terror.

Let’s give them hope, for we know the pain of tragedy when it walks right into our compound.

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