It’s tough coping with loss of wife, granddaughter in tanker explosion –Ogun widower - Punch Newspapers

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\U2013ogun Widower, Granddaughter

12/4/2021 4:28:00 PM

It’s tough coping with loss of wife, granddaughter in tanker explosion –Ogun widower - Punch Newspapers

The most widely read newspaper in Nigeria

4 December 2021From a distance, one could rightly gauge the intensity of sadness Aremu Musbau was bottling up. Surrounded by sympathisers at his residence on Titilope Street, Temidire in the Abeokuta area of Ogun State, Aremu’s face was etched with grief that Tuesday morning.

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He had yet to fully come to terms with the tragic death of his wife, Sidikat Musbau, 51, and 10-year-old granddaughter, Rashidat Muyideen, in a tanker explosion on Lafenwa-Ayetoro road, near Lafenwa Market on Sunday, November 28, 2021.The tanker, loaded with premium motor spirit (petrol), had reportedly overturned and spilled its content after its axle broke.

Tragedy, however, struck a few hours after the spillage when some traders and hoodlums in the market began scooping fuel from the fallen tanker, despite the police presence. Some hoodlums were said to have ignited a fire that triggered the deadly explosion.

Aside from the two fatalities, scores of shops in the market were burnt while thugs reportedly looted some stores.Recounting moments leading to the tragedy, Aremu said after the news of fuel spillage filtered through from the scene, his wife left home to look for Muyideen who had gone to the market earlier that morning.

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He said she and Muyideen were trying to escape from the fire that eventually erupted when they were trapped.Aremu stated, “My wife was a very nice and wonderful person; she was good to every member of the family. On that Sunday morning, she was praying when I left her at home. Some hours later, I was told by someone that a petrol tanker fell in the Oju-Irin area of Lanfenwa Market.

“I then called her to tell her what I heard. I warned her to be patient and not go to the market at that moment. Meanwhile, someone had also told her about the incident. But she was anxious about Rashidat’s (Muyideen) safety, so she rushed to the scene. They were trying to escape when the tanker exploded and they were caught in the fire.

“She was supposed to attend a prayer session later that morning. If not for our granddaughter she went to check at the market, she would have gone for the prayer.’’The widower said his wife’s death had left a void that could not be filled adding that she played a major role in the family.

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He said, ‘‘It is tough for me losing both of them. I have started missing her impact because of the vital roles she played in the family. She didn’t keep any secret; she didn’t hide anything from me. I just pray that God should help me to cope with the gap her death has created. I am not sure I will cope with the gap created by my wife’s death. She helped me a lot to finance the family. I can’t forget her in my life due to her character and the responsibilities she took.

“I got married long ago, about 40 years ago. I got married to her because of her good character. She was very diligent and not a lousy person. Every member of the community knows her as a person of good character and she was friendly with everyone. No one can say anything negative about her in this community.”

One of Sidikat’s children, Luqman Musbau, 24, described his mother as the bread winner of the family. He said even though his mother was not financially buoyant, she shouldered Muyideen’s upkeep.Luqman said, “Mama (mum) was the one taking care of her. She was the one paying her school fees and doing everything concerning the girl’s upbringing. Mama was also the one taking care of everybody in the family.”

He appealed to the government to help the family in bridging the vacuum created by his late mother’s untimely death. He said, “I am an apprentice electrician and she was the one taking care of me. My younger brother just finished his ND (National Diploma). He doesn’t have a job. He now has to depend on us, his older siblings, but we too are struggling. The government should please help us because we don’t have anyone again, except God.”

Tragedy fuelled by market crisisSaturday PUNCHlearnt that there had been a protracted quarrel between the Babaloja of Lafenwa Market, Alhaji Musa Adeyinka and some miscreants in the market.The hoodlums reportedly exploited the tanker accident to ignite a fire on Adeyinka’s shop already surrounded by fuel.

An eyewitness, Shalewa Ogunsola, said people were scampering to safety when the girl fell inside a gutter close to the petrol tanker, adding that Sidikat was caught in the inferno while trying to save her grandchild.She said, “We were together when shops in the market were gutted by fire. We all ran away but Iya Arike (as Sidikat was popularly called) tried to save her grandchild who fell inside the gutter. Unfortunately, both were consumed by fire.”

The Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, on Monday, decried alleged complicity of the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Lafenwa in the explosion. He directed the state Commissioner of Police, Lanre Bankole, to immediately redeploy him.

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