*Accounts dept, SG’s office badly affected
BY JUDE OPARA
Abuja -The confusion rocking Nigerian football took a rather shocking dimension Wednesday when a mysterious mid-morning fire completely gutted the accounts department and the office of the general secretary of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Barr. Musa Amadu.
The fire which started about 9.15 am was not contained until about 10.20 am when fire fighters from both the Abuja Fire Service as well as construction giants, Julius Berger gained entry into the complex which also houses the FCT Command of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC).
Sources say immediately the fire which began from the accounts department was noticed, an unnamed staff opened the door to the office where the fire was already raging under a table and it was put off with a fire extinguisher but soon after it was noticed that the fire was still raging but this time the said staff was nowhere to be found and forced the breaking of the door but before then it was too late because the fire had already escalated.
The fire affected the accounts offices, ICT office, marketing department, part of protocol department national competitions as well as the office of the director of technical and it took the combined efforts of a team of officers from the fire service, Federal Road safety Corps, NFF internal security, staff as well as officers of the Department of State Security Services (DSS) who have been reporting to the glasshouse since the return of Maigari to contain the inferno.
But findings by Sports Vanguard showed that all the fire extinguishers in the office had expired since 2012 which probably was the reason why the fire continued even after the extinguishers were used to put it off.
The intensity of the fire was so high that it took nine fire fighting trucks to fight the inferno both from the front of the building and its rear which many analysts say was why the second wing of the building was saved.
Addressing the media after examining the extent of damage, president of the NFF, Alhaji Aminu Maigari said the incident was regrettable and unfortunate adding that he was grateful to God that no life was lost even as he urged the security agents to investigate to find out what led to the fire.
He said the board will be meeting immediately to decide on the next line of action because such an ugly development has never happened in the history of Nigerian football even as he called on members of Nigerian football to join hands with him to find a way out of the present situation.
“Yes the board will e meeting to decide on the next line of action because this the very first time we are witnessing this type of ugly development in our football, I am also hopeful that we will get over this situation and that is why I want to urge everybody again to bury their hatchet and let us together develop this game that Nigerians love so much” Maigari stated.
But for the leader of the Nigeria Fire Services team that intervened, Ime Eyo the staff of the NFF did not respond in time by calling the fire service even as he regretted that the barricade at the entrance of the office further hindered their pace which aided the fire to also escalate.
Eyo, who equally called for a thorough investigation into the incident said he was shocked to find out that his men saw only fire extinguishers that had expired since 2012 at the glasshouse.
But commenting on the incident, the deputy controller in charge of operations, Omopetusin Julius said his men responded promptly because it took only about 15 minutes for them to reach the secretariat due to the heavy traffic in the morning. He also said that from what was noticed, the fire fighters were not invited early enough. He equally said it was very early to determine the true cause of the fire even as he urged the NFF to demand for an investigation into what actually happened.
“For now nobody can actually determine the cause of the fire, I have heard people saying it could have been due to an electric spark but if they want the Fire Report, they can send a request to our office and we will ascertain the real cause of the fire. If not for our quick intervention, the entire building would have been razed but we thank God that we were able to save a part of the building” the fire service official said.