Fire outrage! NIS hqtrs, Kugbo furniture market gutted · Fire service indicts marketers · Goods worth millions lost · Immigration services unaffected – NIS
It was a Sunday of fire outbreak as the headquarters of the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, and the popular Kugbo Furniture Market were gutted by fire.
While the cause of both fire incidents are yet to be determined, owners of shops at the furniture market are counting their losses in millions, while the NIS has assured that the inferno will not affect immigration services.
The NIS headquarters located along the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport Road, Abuja was reportedly on fire by 10:55am through a tweet by the service on its Twitter handle, @nigimmigration.
“A fire incident occurred in our Service Headquarters this Morning. It affected some of our Offices,” the tweet read.
“The fire has been put out by our Federal Fire Station and support from other agencies around the Airport.
“The cause of the fire is being investigated. We assure the public that the incident will not in any way affect the discharge of our services”, the NIS further tweeted.
The Kugbo fire incident is coming exactly one year less three days when a similar outbreak occurred leading to losses estimated at over N21 million.
The alarm of the furniture market on fire was first raised at few minutes past 6am. Fire fighters drawn from the FCT Fire Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency, China Harbour Engineering Company, Nigerian Airforce responded several minutes after to battle the inferno aided by combustible furniture materials.
Speaking to The Abuja Inquirer on the developments, Mallam Abbas Idriss, Director General of the FCT Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, said while investigations into the cause of both incidents were on, he blamed human indiscretion as a major factor in most fire outbreaks.
“Human error is often a major factor in any major fire outbreak. At the Kugbo Furniture Market, we have cautioned them against having restaurants and cooking at the place given the nature of combustible materials they deal in,” Idriss said.
“But what do you find? People cooking, having gas burners and electric stoves side by side with furniture materials. I am not saying that is what might have caused this fire outbreak.
“For the immigration incident, it is possible someone might have left an air conditioner or something that ordinarily should have been switched off on. People need to take greater responsibility,” the FEMA DG said.
When one of our correspondents visited the market in the morning, an aged man, strapped on a stretcher, was being carried by four officials of the FEMA into a waiting ambulance.
The Abuja Inquirer learnt that man had suffered from smoke inhalation and passed out.
The leader of the fire service team to Kugbo, Mr. G.C. Eze, a Superintendent, said they received the distress call at about 6:30am.
“It is unfortunate that we fought off fire here in December, 2020 and here we are again. After that incident, we demanded an enlightenment programme on fire safety measures since it seems December and January are always fire period in the market. But what did we get? On the particular day for the fire drill, the shop owners failed to come out with the lame excuse that they had orders to fulfill,” Eze disclosed.
The fire chief also said it was early to determine what might have caused the fire outbreak, but gave the assurances that they will carry that out at a later date.
One of those who lost goods mainly of ply wood boards rhetorically asked our correspondent, “can you give me N20m for the goods I have lost?”
Several of the traders who lost their wares were seen with hands on their heads or trying to salvage whatever was left.
The Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, later visited the market late Sunday evening to assess the damage.
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