From Femi Oyelola, and Yusuf Idris Kaduna
The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer CEO of Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission, (NAEC), Professor Simon Mallam, was among five other victims confirmed dead in the Kaduna gas explosion which rocked business premises along Kachia Road, Sabo Tasha in Chikun Local Government Area of the state.
Investigation by our reporters revealed that the learned professor from Kagoro in Kaura Local Government Area of the state went to the barbing salon in company of his kid, Junior Mallam, who was also said to have been killed in the explosion.
A visit to his resident in Gonin-Gora yesterday showed hundreds of sympathizers trooping to the residence to ascertain the reality of the incident.
Prof. Mallam was said to have just returned from village for the yuletide celebration and was in the saloon to have a hair cut in preparation for the Sunday service and subsequent movement to Abuja.
Efforts to get the identities of the other victims proved abortive as some of them were disfigured beyond recognition.
Meanwhile, Kaduna State Police Command has confirmed the death of five people from the gas explosion.
The Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Yakubu Sabo disclosed this in a statement made available to the media in Kaduna yesterday.
“Today at about 1545hrs, the Command received information through DPO Sabon Tasha that a Gas Cylinder has exploded at a Gas Refilling Shop which resulted in the death of five persons (two of which are beyond recognition)while four others sustained various degree of injuries.
“The impact of the incident affected three other adjoining shops of different businesses.
“Teams of detectives have been dispatched to the scene on rescue mission and further investigation.
“The Four injured have been rushed to Barau Dikko Hospital Kaduna for treatment. Update will follow please,” he explained.
However, Kaduna State Deputy Governor, Dr. Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe yesterday visited scene of the Saturday gas explosion .
The Deputy Governor in company of Commissioner Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, and other government officials also visited victims at the General Hospital, Sabon Tasha, St.Gerald Hospital and Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital within Kaduna metropolis, though some have been treated and discharged.
Balarabe also paid a condolence visit to the family of late Prof. Simon P. Mallam,at his Gonin Gora residence.
Balarabe prayed for the repose of the soul of the late Professor and all persons who lost their lives in the incidence and urged the family to accept the death of their father as the will of God.
Speaking with journalists after her visit, the deputy governor expressed sadness over the incidence, and prayed for the quick recovery of those injured.
She stressed the need for business men to always adhere to government regulations in siting businesses, saying there are designated business areas set aside by government:
“We are sad over this unfortunate incident. We pray for the repose of those who lost their lives. We advise residents to adhere strictly to government’s policy when opening business,” She added.
Balarabe said that, Kaduna State will be tough in enforcing safety regulations to protect the lives of its citizens.