Shadrack Christmas, 45, was among the people who were rendered homeless on Friday when a tanker exploded and went up in flames at Mbiama, a border community between Bayelsa and Rivers states on the East-West Road.
Christmas who hails from Ekeremor in Bayelsa State was away to fend for his family when he got the report of the incident.
“I hurried home immediately I heard it only to discover that there was no home again. The place l called home had been razed by fire,” he told Punch Metro.
On sighting our correspondent, he sprang to his feet, wept and pointed at the debris of his house and property.
Christmas said everything he owned including some money was destroyed by the fire.
“I have been managing my life here with my wife and a kid. At least we were making do with the things in my house until the fire came. It is even painful that I couldn’t salvage anything. Where will I go from here?” He cried.
Christmas was not the only victim of the fire which occurred when a diesel-laden tanker fell on a failed portion of the road and exploded killing two persons and injuring over 20 others.
Houses and shops numbering over 20 and about 12 cars were destroyed by the inferno.
Goods and property worth millions of naira were burnt in the incident which the residents blamed on government’s failure to construct the road.
One of the victims, Mrs. Charity Ogene, said she lost her house and all the items in it.
She said, “My house and every item in it burnt. I went to the shop in the morning with my children when I heard that a tanker had fallen. The next thing I heard was that fire had started.
“When I got to the place, I saw my house and other houses burning. The only thing l have is what I am putting on now.”
Also, one Esther Isiomo said a branch of the Celestial Church she spent her life building was destroyed by the fire.
Isiomo said she lost over N500, 000 including all her musical instruments to the fire.
“I was sleeping when l heard of the fire. I rushed to the place but there was nothing I could pick. The fire razed my church and everything I spent building the church was gone,” she said.
The Chairman of Ahoada West Local Government Area, Mr. Awori Miller, said it was unfortunate that the government had paid lip service to the construction of the road.
Miller, who visited the scene of the accident to assess damage done by the explosion, said it was uncertain why the government had abandoned a road he described as strategic to the economy of the country.
The council boss who rued the development said it was time the government saved people’s lives by fixing the road.
He said, “The spot where the accident happened is as a result of bad nature of the East-West Road. People have complained several times but the Federal Government seem to be doing nothing about it. It is unfortunate.
“We don’t know what is happening but the Federal Government should live up to its expectation. The road is very important to the economic well being of the nation because it is the area where the oil business in this country is being done.
“The entire road is bad from Port Harcourt to Delta State. The government should expedite action for the expansion of the East-West Road.”