The State Government has organized a mass burial for the 32 unidentified bodies of victims of the fuel tanker accident that took place at the Asaba Park, Upper Iweka, Onitsha on May 31 this year.
The ceremony, which commenced with a 21 gun-salute in honor of the departed, proceeded with an inter-denominational burial service held at the instance of the Anglican Bishop on the Niger, the Reverend Owen Nwokolo, attracted top government functionaries and stakeholders in the state. In solemn sentences blended with bible readings, the final rites of the departed were completed before they were interred at the Obosi Cemetery.
Speaking at the event, the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano, explained that tissue specimen were taken from the unidentified bodies which were burnt beyond recognition and deposited at the Onitsha General Hospital where it will be kept for a period of ten years for future investigations while the grave will have cenotaphs to identify the bodies.
Obiano who described the accident as a big tragedy, said in swift response to the incident, his administration had taken pragmatic measures to forestall future occurence; some of which included ban on fuel-carrying tankers and truck from moving in the daytime and plying the State Roads as well as restriction of Commercial motorcyclists to from routes in the State.
While noting that his government is working in collaboration with relevant agencies to ensure safety on the State roads, the Governor urged the motoring public to imbibe safety habits and always ensure that their vehicles are in fine shape. In a sermon, the Right Reverend Nwokolo represented by the Archeacon in charge of Obosi Archdeaconry, Venerable Oswald Ezekwere called on Christians to live everyday with the consciousness that everything on earth is vanity, noting that only total faith and belief in God as well as positive living can guarantee eternal life.
In a remark, The Chief Imam, Central Mosque, Bida Road, Onitsha, Mr. Abdulraman Hamza representing the Muslim Community in the State, said Governor Obiano has by his decision to organize the burial, exhibited genuine humaneness and goodwill as well as his commitment towards addressing any bottleneck that will hamper the growth of the State.
Special prayers were said during the Service for the Governor, the State and the families of the Accident victims as well as for the repose of the souls of the Departed. Meanwhile the Executive Secretary of the Anambra State Emergency Management Agency, Chief Paul Odenigbo, stated that government would redouble their efforts in bringing to book those reckless drivers who drive under the influence of alcohol.
He asked Ndi anambra to learn to take necessary precautionary measures such as proper use of electrical appliances and petroleum products and stop taking things for granted.
– Raymond Ozoji, Awka