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Two burnt to death in Lagos

By The Citizen
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TWO persons were killed yesterday when fire razed over 100 shanties at Small Kuramo on Lekki Beach Road, Lagos.

The late Azeez (aka Akube), a trader, and the late Kemi were said to be asleep when the fire started around 3am.

Many were seen salvaging their property from the rubble of the burnt shanties, amid whispers that the fire might have been caused by the rape of a three-year-old girl. Others said it was caused by generator explosion.

A trader, Jude Obi, who has two cabins, said he lost N3 million to the fire, adding that his goods were stolen before he got to the scene.

'I was sleeping when I heard a bang on my door that the area was on fire. I rushed out immediately and when I got there, I couldn't take a kobo from the shop. My shop is a well stocked boutique. The hoodlums stole my goods before I got there. It is so unfortunate. This is where most of us make a living and now it is gone. I just pray we won't be sent away from this place. Most of us lost so many things to the fire. I could only pick my hangers from the shop. I couldn't take a single cloth out of my shop,' he said.

A resident, Isaac, said he heard a woman was cooking and she stored fuel in her house, adding: 'The fire spread so fast. Even those whose houses weren't affected packed their things out. We tried our best but the fire got out of hands.'

Another resident, who gave his name as Orioye, said he did not know where to start from. He said he had been living there for decades, adding that he has nowhere to go.

'People look down on us because they think we are touts. This is where we live and sell to make a living. We are not selling illegal things. We need the government to help us. We have children; we have wives. Everyone depends on us. If only we can be given a permanent space. We are not saying we want permanent structure. If we can be given allocation, we don't mind,' he said.

Secretary to the Community Mr Michael Onuwaje said over N20 million was lost to the fire, adding that it cost over N500,000 to set up a full cabin.

He said: 'I learnt someone was refueling a generator that was on before it exploded. Before the fire service officials came, some young men managed to put out the fire. Every shop here has a five kilogramme fire extinguisher. It is a pity we lost two lives. The late Azeez was a trader here but I don't know the girl involved. I called the police attached to Ilasan police station who carried the bodies. It was a big loss. We can't count our losses. I was able to salvage a plasma television from a cabin. I thank the fire service because they acted promptly. Though, we don't have any collective plan for those affected but I believe they would pick up again.'

State Fire Service Director Rasaq Fadipe said the shanties were built on three acres of land; the fire razed houses on about four plots. The service, he said, succeeded in preventing the fire from spreading to other areas. The Nation