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Residents count losses as Abuja records more fire outbreaks

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Some residents of Abuja have lamented their losses due to different fire outbreaks across the capital city, blaming the situation on late arrival of fire service.

Abuja city recorded another fire incident on Sunday, which added to the three fire incidents in recent time.

DAILY POST reports that fire engulfed Next Cash and Carry Supermarket in the Jabi area of the nation’s capital on Sunday.

Fire guts NEXT Supermarket in Abuja

It was gathered that the inferno was caused by an electrical surge which started from the administrative section of the supermarket and it may have been completely put out if fire service personnel arrived on time.

Similarly, on the evening of July 17th, fire razed the popular Prince Ebeano Supermarket at Lokogoma district in Abuja.

A viral CCTV footage showed a young girl of about 9 years of age, setting fire on some items close to some highly flammable items shortly before the mall went up in flames.

The little fire resulted in the massive inferno that firefighters struggled to put out.

Also, a massive explosion rocked Kubwa Village Market, a suburb of Abuja in November.

The fire outbreak was reportedly caused by adulterated kerosene, which claimed five lives and destroyed several shops, with goods worth millions of Naira.

This led to the demolition of about 100 illegal shops built around the market.

Mr Ikharo Attah, the Chairman, FCT Ministerial Taskforce on City Sanitation, who led the exercise, stressed that the demolition was initiated to correct contraventions constituting environmental nuisances in the market.

According to him, the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello kicked against the continued contraventions in the market and directed the taskforce to rid the area of illegal shops to prevent further life and safety-threatening incidents.

However, barely three weeks after the fire outbreak at Kubwa Market, the Popular Nyanya Market on Abuja-Keffi expressway in Abuja, on November 23rd, went up in flames, destroying valuable goods and properties.

Speaking with DAILY POST, a resident of Jabi, Ebube Chukwuma, who witnessed the fire outbreak at Next Cash and carry said the fire service personnel got to the scene of the incident late.

He said if not for the effort of good Nigerians, nothing would have been salvaged from the shopping mall.

Chukwuma said, “If a burning multi-billion naira business can escalate this much due to slow intervention, imagine what would happen in remote places. It’s rather unfortunate that Nigerians cannot rely on its fire service.”

Another resident identified as Akanimo Moses said, “If Next cash and carry in Abuja can be on fire for hours without fire fighters intervention, then I’m sorry for the country. We keep getting worse instead of improving.”

A man identified as Okakah lamented that the outbreak has affected the workers and many families will be faced with suffering.

“Next Cash and Carry got more than 300 workers running shifts, but guess what, they are all out of job now. I hope they have insurance that covers fire outbreaks, if not, the owner will be forced out of business because of this colossal loss.”

Another resident of the area, who accused the fire Service of arriving after the building had been reduced to ashes, called for policies and sanctions that will force emergency agencies to respond to crisis calls faster.

”Our problem in this country is lack of preparation. Emergencies are meant to be prepared for but in Nigeria we do not see the need. I hope one day we get our priorities right and set up policies that will force emergency agencies in this part of the world to do the right thing. They are clearly slacking,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Next Cash and Carry’s General Manager, Mr Neil Pape, in a statement said that the shop closed for the Christmas holiday on December 24, 2021, and resumed on Sunday December 26th.

He maintained that the store was built and operated according to international standards and called for thorough investigation to ascertain the immediate and remote causes of the inferno.

Efforts by DAILY POST to reach the FCT Fire Service PRO, Huan Ugo for comments proved abortive as of press time.