By Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
Disturbed by the frequency of fire outbreaks in Kugbo Furniture Market in the Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC, Federal Capital Territory FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has called for the reorganization and remodelling of the market.
Special Assistant on Media to the minister, Mr Austin Elemue in a statement on Monday said Dr Aliyu made the call when she visited victims of the Kugbo inferno.
The minister also commended critical stakeholders for the prompt response, stressing that the spirit of sportsmanship exhibited shows that much would be achieved by doing things together.
While pledging that the FCT Administration would see how best to assist the victims, she, however, tasked traders to take precautionary measures as most of the goods sold in the market are highly inflammable, revealing that the personnel of FCT Fire Service is poised to train traders on how to curtail fire outbreak.
She also commended the traders for assisting the victims to salvage some of the damaged goods, noting that in most cases of inferno, unscrupulous elements seized the opportunity to cart away other people’s belongings.
“This is sad especially in this very difficult period that we are all grappling with the economic situation and how to survive with our little businesses. Nevertheless, I must also quickly sympathize with victims of this inferno that led to the loss of property.
“We must also thank God that there was no loss of life, but at the same time, we must say a big thank you in appreciation to our first respondents who came to contain this ugly incident such as FCT Fire Service, FEMA, NEMA, and other stakeholders especially those who quickly came to our aid, like the Nigerian Army, Navy and Air Force.
“These critical stakeholders and the hands of fellowship extended to the FCT Administration shows that with togetherness we can conquer. We must say a very big thank you to all of you because the disaster could have been worse than this if not for your prompt intervention.
“And for all those who lost their property, it is not because they have offended God in one way or the other. We should take it in good fate and God’s willing, FCT will do everything at its best to ensure that we put an end to these ugly occurrences.
“We will look forward towards the reorganization of the market. Thank God there is a skeletal space for the fire trucks to move in, and we need to improve on it in terms of creating more spaces to make it more motorable. FCT Emergency Management Agency will come and take stock of the extent of damaged goods, even though we have some figures here”.
Conducting the minister round the scene, the Acting Director FCT Fire Service, Malam Sani Sa’idu, said the fire outbreak could be linked to an electrical surge, adding that over 80 timber shades and 300 furniture shops were affected by the inferno.
Sa’idu also maintained that as soon as the service received the information from Kugbo residents, the service deployed personnel from Nyanya and Karu and then activated the Federal Fire Service, before the intervention of firefighters from the Nigeria Army, Air Force and the Navy.