By Chuks Eke
The owners of the chemical drums that exploded and started the fire in the market are still at large, according to the panel of inquiry established by the Anambra State Government through the Onitsha South Local Government Council to determine the root cause of the November 8, 2022 fire disaster at the Onitsha Bridgehead drug market that claimed some lives and injured many others.
The panel also disclosed that the state government is yet to pay compensation to both the bereaved families of the four deceased victims of the inferno and the injured ones.
These were contained in a report submitted to the Onitsha South Local Government authorities, yesterday by the nine-man panel of inquiry headed by its Chairman, Comrade Peter Okala.
The state government had through the local government council, set up the panel of inquiry to investigate, examine and explore the remote and root cause of the tire incident and then recommendations that will forestall future occurrences.
Submitting the report to the Chairman of Onitsha South Local Government Transition Committee, Chief Emeka Orji, Comrade Okala, flanked by his Secretary, Dr. Frank Udemadu, and other members of the panel explained that from
Investigations, the cause of the explosion was a chemical reaction and not a bomb blast as insinuated or assumed by some people.
According to Okala, “So many members of bridgehead market sustained injuries and some are still in the hospital while one member’s leg was amputated, three unions were affected by the explosion, which included, Ogbogwu International market, Chain saw/Allied and PS Union”.
He commended the Onitsha South Local Government Council for approving the rebuilding of the burnt shops at the drug market, without demanding a dime from the shop owners, as was the case in the past during previous local government administrations.
“The dead and the injured have not been compensated, the person/persons that caused the explosion is/are registered members of the PS union, and has/have disappeared and had not entered the market since the disaster”.
“Members are agitating for the chemical line to be moved outside the market and the promise from the government to assist in rebuilding the demolished shops has not been fulfilled”.
“Victims paid N50,000 each, totaling N1.6 million to the President General, PG, Bridgehead market and are demanding for refund. We discovered that only four persons lost their lives contrary to insinuations that they were about nine,” Okala stated
In his speech, the Secretary of the panel, Dr. Frank Udemmadu stated the need for Local Government chairmen to be allowed to pilot the affairs of the markets especially in the appointment of market leaders as the chairmen are closer to the people and know the terrain more than those appointed from Awka.
Also on the cause of the inferno in the market, he revealed that the panel was able to reach out to an erudite Professor Emeritus, Prof. Okeruru, a chemist from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka and he gave them detailed information on chemicals that are inflammable and combustible.
“He pointed out that some categories of chemicals are not supposed to be stored in hot or humid areas and entirely populated environments.
“Chemicals of explosive, corrosive and inflammable nature should be banned from all markets in the state. Those that died and the injured have not been compensated, the government should do the needful”.
“Government should foot bills for the rebuilding of the shops, most especially, the ones that were brought down to create access for rescue operation and members that lost goods worth hundreds of millions of naira should be compensated as well”.
“The affected members that paid N50,000 to the PG of the market should be refunded without hesitation. We do not subscribe for the chemical line to be removed from the market but to monitor, control and make sure that those combustible chemicals be checkmated by the formation of a strong task force for the union of the market and other markets in the state.
“The government should provide alternative power soursourcesthe markets in the state, most especially solar powered, among others,” he further stated.
In his response, the Onitsha South Local Government chairman, Hon.Emeka Orji thanked the committee for executing the job properly as stipulated in their terms of reference, stating that handling of chemicals issue in the market will be his next target.
Hon. Orji pointed out that his next project will be the provision of the head bridge with the service station even though he promised to finish what he has started.
“I am working very hard to reconstruct and rebuild a new Onitsha South, I want to build an ultra-modern market at Ochanja, I started with Oduigbo, I demolished it and I will rebuild it and other parts of the market will follow suit.
Others that spoke at the event were the chairman of Chain saw/Allied products, Chief Onyebuchi Umeh; Chairman of Stakeholders/leaders of Thought, Chief Bonaventure Ucheagwu, Legal Adviser to council chairman, Chief Stanley Okakor and the secretary of the local government council, Mr Paul Onuachalla.
Instagram Unveils Improved Editing Tools For Creators, Users
Instagram has announced new and improved editing tools to help creators and users better express their creativity on the app. The new tools include several improvements to reels and exciting new updates for feed photos, carousels, and stories, that make it easier to create directly within the Instagram app.
For reels, enhanced video editing tools help users express creativity and tell the story they want to, all within the app. In the feed, new filters for photos and carousels will explore different tones and moods for posts. In addition to the editing tools, Instagram has also built new tools to help creators better understand their performance.
The full suite of updates includes:
Reel editing updates: We’re rolling out new fonts to level up text on reels, and updating editing individual clips with the ability to zoom/crop/rotate; undo and redo edits; and 10 new text-to-speech voices.
Audio updates: On reels, we’re launching the ability to add clips with audio from movies, TV shows,s or your own created audio to your reels from our new media clip hub.
New feed photo filters: We’re launching brand-new photo filters for feed posts and carousels.
Performance insights for creators: understand your Reels performance with a new metric, Reels Replays.
Custom Stickers: make your Reels or Stories stand out by turning part of any photo or video.
2024 Budget: Obi Queries N20.5bn Proposal For VP’s House
Peter Obi, the Labour Party Presidential flag bearer in the country’s last general election, has once again yelled at the level of waste in the APC administration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Obi, who had just blasted the government for sending over 1400 delegates to COP28 as wasteful, has now slammed the administration for proposing over N20 billion in refurbishment and construction of a new office space for the Vice President.
The LP standard bearer said he is still studying the N27.5 trillion budget presented to the National Assembly last week, but could not wait to wonder at the level of waste on nonessential things when the people are suffering and dropping into multi-dimensional poverty in droves.
Reacting in his X handle on Monday Obi said “Even as I am still studying the 2024 fiscal budget as presented to the National Assembly last week, I cannot wait as am compelled to ask what is exactly wrong with us as a country.
‘I ask this question because it is hard for me to understand some of the recent happenings in our nation, in these critical times.
‘The recent news about a budget provision of N15 billion for the construction of a new residence for the Vice President is both shocking and disheartening, considering the many important challenges facing our nation.
Obi recalled that “Just recently in the Supplementary Budget, the sum of N2.5 billion was included for the renovation of the Vice President’s residence in Abuja, which means that he already has a residence. Again, during the budget presentation, I heard the sum of N3 billion was allocated for the renovation of the Vice President’s residence in Lagos. If we total all these sums, we would have budgeted the sum of N20.5 billion for the housing of the Vice President at this critical time when we are not just the world’s poverty capital, but more people falling into poverty, with so many Nigerians not knowing where their next meal will come from”
“Our health facilities have collapsed, and unemployment is skyrocketing. I am convinced that 99.9% of Nigerians can only dream of living in the current residence of the Vice President.
The LP standard bearer also noted that ‘ Several people employed in the universities are not being paid. Just to give an example, the salary of a professor in a Nigerian university is about N400,000, which without removing tax is about N5 million a year. What we have budgeted for the housing of the Vice President who is already luxuriously housed is, therefore, the annual salary of about 3000 professors!
“This is the finance needed to develop the much-needed human capital.
“The budget of N5 billion for student loans, which is yet to be disbursed is only a tiny percentage of the cost of the Vice President’s new home.
According to the former Anambra state Governor, “We are projecting to use four times the amount for educating ALL Nigerian indigent students to house the Vice President, and we are being told there is nothing wrong with us”
“I am sure the major teaching hospitals in Nsukka, Lagos, Ibadan, and Zaria did not receive this much capital vote in the budget this year.
“We have had leaders that were exemplary in the past. Most Nigerians may not know that the popular 1004 flats in Lagos, was land allocated for the building of a Presidential Mansion for the then Head of State, General Murtala Mohammed but he “sternly turned down the offer and instructed that the land should be used to build blocks of flats for civil servants. That is the kind of sacrificial leadership worth emulating.
“Our leaders must therefore stop the recklessness and insensitivity to the plight of the masses. We need leaders who show compassion and are willing to sacrifice for common progress and development. Such compassionate and frugal leaders are critical in our journey to the New Nigeria”
DCSL Set To Launch Innovative Boardroom App, Marks 10 Years Of Excellence
DCSL Corporate Services Limited, a leading corporate service firm is set to celebrate a decade of professional excellence and launch an innovative boardroom app – “The DCSL e-Connect App” on Friday 8th December 2023.
Bisi Adeyemi, Managing Director of DCSL, reflected on the significant milestones achieved in the past decade and reiterated the Company’s commitment to delivering unparalleled professional services across its bouquet of offerings to diverse sectors of the economy.
“Our ten-year journey has been propelled by an unwavering commitment to delivering exceptional professional service to a diverse range of corporate and individual clients across various business sectors.
“The introduction of the DCSL eConnect app marks a pivotal moment, as we embark on a new era of transformative possibilities, reinforcing our dedication to innovation and precision in communication and collaboration within the boardroom.
“This celebration marks not only a milestone in our journey but also a testament to our commitment to excellence and innovation in the corporate services landscape”.
The DCSL eConnect App is designed to elevate boardroom communication, and collaboration and redefine efficiency. The innovative App will empower Boards and c-suite executives to efficiently manage meetings, streamline access to and retrieval of documents, facilitate approvals, and conduct polls and performance evaluations, all while ensuring compliance and tracking company plans.
The exclusive event will be graced by key stakeholders, clients, business leaders, and media partners.