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Kano Explosion: Victims Allege Neglect in Govt Compensation

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The family members of the May 16, 2022 explosion in Sabon Gari, Kano are still nursing their wounds even with the relief funds released by the state government.

The conflicting accounts from eyewitnesses and the authorities on the cause of the incident are yet to die down, and now, Nigeria Info can report that some of the victims are yet to get the funds made available by the government.

No Compensation After Weeks of Treatment

On a day believed to be as normal as any other, a loud terrifying sound changed everything; a deadly gas explosion killed many and left others struggling for survival, while properties worth millions were destroyed.

Following the incident, the Kano State Government pledged N9 million as compensation for the lost lives and properties.

A part of the money was also meant to be used to settle the victims’ medical bills, but some of them have been unable to access the support.

Three-month-old Kachi Ekemezie was one of the over 20 victims of the explosion but her mother, Ann Ekemezie, a teacher at Winners Academy, located next to the explosion site could not get any support after weeks of treatment at the hospital.

"The school principal directed me to the Igwe's palace, and I went with my baby.

“The Igbo king, Mr. Ide, brought a list and asked for my baby's name and I told him ‘Kachi Ekemezie.’

“He said her name was not written on the list because she was not treated at Greenland, that the government only compensated those that were treated at Greenland and Armed Forces Hospitals.

"I told him that everywhere was busy that day, so the government cannot just indicate one particular hospital.

“He said that he has nothing to say because the only people he had to compensate were those people whose names were on his list," Mrs. Ekemezie narrated.

Kachi's mother is not alone.

Amarachi David and 16 other victims couldn’t get the funds from the government due to the failure of the Igbo ethnic leader in Kano, Igwe Boniface to capture their names on his list.

"One of Igwe's workers brought one list. He said the list was from Greenland but our names were not there, and that they were not going to give us anything unless our names were there.

"We told them that we came to the hospital but there was no space, so I had to take my daughter to another hospital.

"He said that was not his business. He wasn’t going to give anything to us as long as our names were not there."

She however disclosed that "the principal later told us that Igwe’s workers said they should bring some names that were not on the list for them to see what they were going to do. Up till now, we have not heard from them."

Another staff of the affected private school, Gideon Ukang who died about two weeks after the explosion was not compensated, apparently because he was still alive when the list was compiled.

His brother Augustine Ukang spoke to Nigeria Info’s sister radio station, Wazobia FM Kano on the phone.

"I went to the Igwe's palace. I've given them his name.

“They said I should come back with a death certificate but I don't have a death certificate with me.

“Since that time, I have not heard anything. All these things happened before I traveled, so I will have to go to the hospital to get the certificate, and then every other thing will follow," he said.

A caller corroborated the victims’ allegations during Wazobia FM Kano’s news and current affairs programme, "We Tori Dommot."

Igwe Boniface Declines to Comment

After a series of complaints by victims who were turned down because their names weren’t on the referenced list, Wazobia FM Kano reached out to one of the community leaders entrusted with the distribution, Igwe Boniface, who declined to comment.

He also failed to respond to messages sent to him.

Victims Treated at Pharmacies not Captured on List

The principal of Winners Academy, Lennie Ujaja received a N1 million compensation from the government.

He explained that persons whose names were not collated by the Igwe were those who had minor injuries and were treated at pharmacies.

Kano Explosion Courtesy Vanguard

"For those whose names were not captured, maybe they were treated at the chemist.

“I think that is where the problem is coming from because I have some of my students whose names were on the list, they paid them.

"Because of the way parents are coming, we went back to the Igwe. He told us through his secretary that we should write down the names of those people whose names were not captured earlier so that they can approach the government for more assistance, if not, then there is nothing they could do.

"We are still compiling the names. I don't want to rush the compilation and later somebody will come and say ‘this is my name, my daughter is also affected.’ It will be too late then," Mr. Ujaja said.

We Don't Know How Other Lists Were Generated -CAN

The chairman of the Kano State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev. Adeolu Samuel Adeyemo explained that he was given N2 million to take care of ten badly injured victims but ended up footing the bills for more.

"The Igwe said we should give only to those who are on the list.

"I did not generate any list, so how other lists were generated, I don't know.

"Everything I am doing, I did it transparently; I called Otunba Alhaji Salaudeen Olanrewaju (Oba's right-hand man) to always seat there with me.

"People whose names were not on the list kept coming with evidence of wounds, that informed my decision to begin to give from what I was given and then reduce some according to the degree of injury so that we can attend to others.

"I also let all those people know that their names were not on the list," Rev. Adeolu stressed.

This Should Not be an Issue -Commissioner

On his part, the Kano State Commissioner for Information, Mohammadu Garba noted that the compensation was given to take care of those affected without any condition attached.

"If there are situations of people who are not captured, the community leaders should meet and identify some of these people, truly, and ensure that they are also part of it,” he clarified.

"They can make another presentation to the government and see whether His Excellency will be kind enough to extend a similar gesture to them.

"This is a support from the government, it shouldn't be an issue."


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