Hoodlums invade Sterling Bank, as fuel tanker fire claims five in Lagos

Semiu Salami
Semiu Salami
The scene of the Tanker fire that killed about 15 people in Lagos

Rampaging hoodlums on Tuesday invaded the Berger Suya Bus Stop, Olodi-Apapa branch of  Sterling Bank and looted air conditioners, computer systems and some documents.

The incident, which occurred as a fuel tanker caught fire in which about five persons were reportedly killed and several millions of properties destroyed, had attempted to break into the bank’s ATM.

A staff of the bank who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that while the fire was raging, some hoodlums invaded the bank and looted air conditioners, computer systems and some documents.

“They came in as if they wanted to assist us to salvage some items. They removed air conditioners, computers, counting machines and documents.

“They went to the security men demanding for the keys to the ATM room and the vault, but the security men told them they were not holding the keys.

“They came with hammers, cutlasses and iron cutters. They ran away as soon as more police men came to the scene,’’ the banker said.

The fire incident occurred at the Berger Suya Bus Stop, Olodi-Apapa, in Lagos, late Tuesday, according to eye witness account, happened when a petroleum tanker fell in the area.

Razak Fadipe, the Director, Lagos State Fire Service, told news men at the scene of the incident on Wednesday that aside the five deaths, goods and properties worth millions of naira were destroyed.

Fadipe said that his men, supported by those of the Nigerian Navy and other private fire services, battled the fire for about five hours and worked late into the night to bring the fire under control.

The General Manager, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Dr Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, who was also at the scene, said that those burnt to death and injured were taken to the Gbagada and Ikeja General Hospitals.

He said that his men would fumigate the area after completing their work.

An eye-witnesses told our reporter that the tanker which caused the fire had a problem with its brakes. “We were still in front of our shop when we saw the tanker coming from Kirikiri side.

“One of the boys following the tanker was trying to use a stone to wedge the vehicle while it was moving because it had a problem with its brakes.

“The driver was trying to divert to another street when the vehicle fell and the product spilled everywhere and ignited fire from the man selling meat at the junction.

“The fire spread to all the shops and bank in the area and the men of the Lagos State Fire Service and others really saved many other buildings from being burnt.

“At least 10 persons died and many were injured by the fire. Most of the people who died were in two commercial buses,’’ a trader, Ejike Ezeobi said.

Another trader, Steve Abugu, who claimed to have lost three shops, with goods valued at about N15 million, also blamed the tanker driver for the incident.

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