201 Residents Slump after Inhaling Chemical in Kano
Deji Elumoye in Abuja, Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja and Ibrahim Shuiabu in Kano
No fewer than 201 residents of Sharada Quarters in Kano State collapsed after inhaling chemicals from a cylinder dismantled by metal scrappers on Friday, THISDAY has learnt.
With health complications that resulted from the incident, President Muhammadu Buhari described the gas explosion at a Kano factory Friday as “extremely horrific,” saying he is distressed by the tragic accident, the second in the city in a month.
Likewise, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Sadiya Farouq visited victims of a gas explosion and chemical leakage which happened in Kano State Thursday and Friday respectively.
An explosion had occurred at a Liquefied Petroleum Gas refilling shop while it was being discharged at Sheka quarters, Kumbotso LGA leaving at least 27 victims with various degrees of burns and injuries.
The following day, another poisonous gas leakage at Sharada Yan tagwaye, Kano Municipal also left scores of people unconscious and in distress after inhaling chemicals from a cylinder dismantled by metal scrappers.
After the cylinder exploded, the victims were rushed to the Murtala Muhammed Specialist Hospital, Sharada Industrial Hospital and Ja’en Hospital, for urgent medical attention.
The victims collapsed and became unconscious after inhaling toxic substances from the cylinder dismantled by some metal scrappers.
Speaking in Kano yesterday, the Territorial Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency in Kano, Nuradeen Abdullahi, confirmed the figure in Kano.
Abdullahi explained that the cylinder chemical explosion “occurred on Friday at about 4:00pm, at Sharada Industrial Area. The victims were suffocated and unconscious.”
He said the chemicals contained in the cylinder escaped into the air and made those who inhaled it become unconscious.
Speaking on the incident, the Chief Medical Director of Murtala Muhammed Specialist Hospital, Dr Hussaini Muhammad, said they received over 70 victims out of which 65 were now in stable condition.
“Thirty-five victims received treatment at Sharada Industrial Hospital and 96 at Ja’en Hospital,” he added.
In a statement by his spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, the president said the chemicals contained in the cylinder escaped into the air and made those who inhaled it to become unconscious.
Buhari said: “I am shocked and pained to hear about this tragic incident, so soon after the last gas explosion. Our brave emergency response agencies and medical workers are trying their best to save lives. We are in constant touch with the field workers and the hospitals.”
He commended the immediate response of the government of Kano State and the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to the incident.
The president also expressed appreciation to hospitals in the State, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), State Emergency Management Agencies (SEMA) and the Nigerian Red Cross, for their support to the victims so far.
Also on the incident, Farouq commended the hospitals managements, NEMA, SEMA and the Nigerian Red Cross for their prompt response and support to the victims during the incident.
The minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, said she was saddened by the spate of gas explosions in the state.
She added that the incident left at least 23 children and four adults with various degrees of burns and injuries in the explosion and hundreds unconscious after a metal scrapper ignorantly cut open a cylinder containing poisonous gas from a refuse dump.
While commiserating with the victims and government of Kano state, the minister promised to immediately assist with the medical expenses of the victims.
She also assured that the ministry would put in place sensitisation programmes and mechanisms to ensure that the sale and use of domestic and chemical gas cylinders are safe for users.
Farouq said: “There are a lot of safety measures that need to be put in place to ensure the safety of the public while using or disposing of domestic or industrial gas cylinders. We will draw the attention of relevant authorities to these safety issues.”