It is particularly infuriating to accept that quite a number of the world’s wildest man-made fires seem to be from Africa. As if to compete, fire incidents of various degrees have rocked almost every country in Africa with a large percentage of them, resulting from fuel tank explosions.
Hardly a year passes without news of roads, markets, gas stations in Africa being set alight as a result of one avoidable accident or another.
The most recent incident of these fire episodes occurred in Nigeria on the 28th of June when an oil tanker rammed into a car and caught fire on the Ibadan Expressway, killing nine people and burning over fifty cars.
Kenya had its fair share on Wednesday when about seventy people were injured in a blaze at Nairobi market leaving four children dead in the fire.
These are just a few of the dozens of fires across the continent in the past 12 months occurring in Mozambique, Congo, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and others; Africa seems to be acting its pejorative tag as “the dark continent”, as everything worth saving burns to ashes especially, human life and property. The death toll for these incidents could go as high as two hundred lives claimed for every fire episode in Africa.
It seems it’s all about getting the world’s sympathy and going to bed because practically nothing is done about these lingering fire incidents. It appears African leaders revel in making endless speeches, touring fire-gutted sites, and making vague promises of compensation which never surface, and in case they do, end up in the wallets of some “big men”.
This issue is a leadership problem as it is attitudinal; as reports from security agencies across Africa indicate that a lot of victims have actually died out of disregard for warnings from security experts. Reports from fire and security experts across fire-gutted countries like; Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique and Congo, indicate that people would rather siphon oil from toppled tankers or try to salvage their wares in a fire incident instead of evacuating these places.
It is only appropriate to say therefore that victims of these explosions are not in themselves victims, but architects of their woes. Architects who warrant the result of their greed and self-indulgence.
Nigeria’s recent tanker explosion should come as a wake-up call for African leaders to implement laws; especially those regarding the transportation of fuel across its cities and the structure and layouts of Africa’s markets.
Africans must understand that the incessant greed of siphoning fuel from toppled tankers could cost them much more than it would cost these oil firms.