The Edo State Government has described as erroneous, insinuations that its response to the Uwelu Auto Spare Parts Market inferno was cliché, stating that the incident is receiving government’s attention.
In a statement, Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, said, “hours after Governor Godwin Obaseki visited the Auto Spare Parts Market in Uwelu, an 8-man panel of inquiry was inaugurated by the state government.”
He continued, “The panel which is headed by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Political Matters (Edo South), Hon. Osaigbovo Iyoha, has commenced work and has one week to turn in its report in line with the terms of reference it was given.”
Osagie explained that government’s approach is the standard practice with an emergency of such scale, stressing “We consider the inferno a major setback for the economy and an emergency that deserves the state government’s attention.
“It is not true that our response to such a massive fire incident that destroyed huge investments in a major sector of the auto industry is ‘a cliché’ as erroneously stated by Chris Nehikhare, Publicity Secretary of the Edo State Chapter of People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
“Though, it is Governor’s Obaseki’s style to allow development to speak for itself, we, however, wish to inform Nehikhare that the state fire service is undergoing revamp just like several other sectors of the state.”
He added that plans to procure new trucks from Innoson Motors are at an advanced stage and the integrated revamp will correct the observed gaps in the response rate of the state fire service to emergencies.
“What Nehikhare failed to mention in his press statement is the fact that the PDP did not leave any foundation for the APC-led government to build on, with respect to managing emergencies like the Uwelu fire incident.
“Edo people and residents feel the impact of the Obaseki-led government where ever they live and it is not true that governance in the state is suffering.
Roads and other infrastructure are being built, enduring policies and programmes are being designed and executed across all sectors, to address the developmental challenges of our people on a daily basis,” he added.
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, had assured traders in Benin Auto Spare Parts Market, Uwelu, whose businesses were destroyed by midnight fire, of government’s support to get them back to business.
The governor gave the assurance on Wednesday while assessing damages wrecked by the fire incident in the market in Uwelu, Egor Local Government Area of the state.
He said a committee would be set-up to unravel the cause of the inferno which destroyed goods worth millions of naira.
The governor, who sympathised with the traders, urged them to be peaceful while the circumstances surrounding the fire outbreak would be ascertained to prevent future occurrence.
He added, “I will hold a meeting with the Head, Edo Fire Service; sister agencies which helped in putting out the fire; members of the State Executive Council and officials of Egor LGA this afternoon and a team will be set up to investigate the fire outbreak.”
He said the committee would be given a week to carry out the investigation on the cause of the fire, ascertain the number of traders whose goods were damaged and the monetary value of goods lost, which will enable the state government in providing assistance to the victims.
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“The team will also advise the state government on measures to put in place to ensure that fire outbreak in markets are minimised and prevented, where possible,” he added.
In his remarks, Chairman, Motor Spare Parts Association, Uwelu Market, Mr Augustine Osaretin, said the arrival of officials of the Fire Service ensured the market was not completely reduced to rubbles.