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Victims Of Jos Deadly Chemical Explosion Narrate Traumatic Experience   

By Agabus Pwanagba, Jos – When Tragedy struck last Friday in Jos, the Plateau State Capital, no fewer than eight people died and over 100 others were left unconscious after inhaling chlorine from a cylinder that exploded at the treatment plant of the State’s Water Board.

Our correspondent gathered that the cylinder containing the gaseous substance exploded at about 11.30 pm on the fateful day, while residents have already gone to sleep and consumed the entire neighbourhood.

Among the victims were a pregnant woman, a Phd student and another second year student of Political Science of the University of Jos (UNIJOS).

They were all said to be living just behind the treatment plant.

Those mostly affected were staff of the Nigeria Immigration Service, whose quarters is near the water board plant.

Others victims were medical students of UNIJOS and the National Film Institute.

However, the deceased and those who inhaled the deadly substance were at the Plateau State Specialist Hospital; Our Lady of Apostles Hospital; Bingham University Teaching Hospital and the Air Force Military Hospital, Jos.

Narrating her ordeal, a survivor and 500 level Medical Laboratory student of UNIJOS, Christiana Paul, who spoke on her hospital bed at the Plateau State Specialist Hospital, said when she perceived the odour, she thought it was a bleaching agent.

“I knocked the doors of my friends and we all ran out towards the water board. But we discovered that the stench was coming from there, because the further we ran, it became stronger, then, we ran back.

“The next thing I did was to soak one of my shirts inside water and used it to cover my nose, but the odour still permeated the soaked cloth and I was almost choking. As I kept on running, I lost much energy and passed out.

She added, “Someone just came, picked me and brought me to the hospital. One of my friends could not make it as she passed out and died.

Another survivor, Mrs. Eke, who was said to be living at the Nigeria Immigration quarters, was too weak to speak as she was still on oxygen to stabilize her condition.

Other victims, a 58-year-old security guard, Enoh Magaji, his wife Mary, 44, and two children, Jacinta, 18 and Goodluck, are still battling for survival in the hospitals.

Public Relations Officer of Plateau State Water Board, Mr. Nangor Ndam, told our correspondent that the cylinder had been leaking, but nobody noticed it before it burst.

However, the State Governor Simon Lalong, said the State Government would set up an independent committee to investigate the cause of the chlorine explosion.

Governor Lalong disclosed this Monday, when he visited the scene of the incident.

He said the state committee would be independent from the one President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered.

The Governor said it was unfortunate that the incident had happened, just few weeks after the twin bomb blasts that killed many People in the state.

Lalong who sympathized with the families of those who lost their lives and other victims that are receiving treatments, assured them that Government would settle their hospital bills.

He frowned at the situation where people are building on the water pipes, saying; “It is wrong for people to build on pipes around the area,” which would be one of the terms of reference of the committee.

The Permanent Secretary, State’s Ministry of Water Resources, Mrs. Hannatu Dantong, assured residents that the water from the Water Board was safe for consumption in the State.

AFRICAN EXAMINER correspondent gathered that the recent event marked the third time the expired dangerous gas would escape from cylinders packed at the warehouse of the board.



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