Next Cash And Carry: FCT Launches Probe

The Federal Capital Territory Administration FCTA said it will launch an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Sunday morning inferno at one of Abuja’s high scale shopping mall, Next Cash and Carry in which goods and property estimated at billions of naira were lost.

Located in Jahi District, the fire reportedly started between 6 and 8am according to eyewitnesses.

However, the in-house firefighting truck was said to have developed a fault and could not be used, leaving the facility managers to wait for emergency services to turn out.

Federal Capital Territory FCT minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello who expressed shock and deep sadness over the fire incident said the administration would commence a probe of the incident.

The minister in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Anthony Ogunleye also commiserated with the management and staff of the supermarket and the FCT business community over the unfortunate incident.

“The Minister commended the FCT Fire Service, the Federal Fire Service, the Fire Service Departments of the Nigerian Navy, Air Force, Guards Brigade and Julius Berger Nig. PLC that responded with their fire-fighting equipment.

“He equally commended the FCT FEMA, the National Emergency Management Agency, Security agencies and other responders for their efforts in containing the blaze.

“Malam Bello also assured that a thorough investigation will be conducted to ascertain the cause of the fire incident in an effort to prevent a reoccurrence in any other business establishment within the FCT”, the statement added.

Spokeswoman of the Federal Fire Service FFS, Ugo Huan also confirmed the incident and urged motorists to consider using alternative routes.

“Next Cash and Carry Store in Jahi, Abuja is currently on fire. The Federal Fire Service have turned out firefighters to the scene, who are currently fighting the fire.

“The Public are to take note and avoid that route”, she said in a text message to our correspondent.

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Also, Director, Forecasting Response Mitigation in the FCT Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, Mrs Florence Wenegieme, said the agency received a distress call around 9:45am and a team was immediately dispatched to the location.

She said as of the town of the report, there was no casualty.

Spokesman of the agency, Nkechi Isa, on her part said immediately FEMA received the distress call, “it immediately activated all responders, including the Federal Fire Service, FCT Fire Service, FCT police Command, Department of State Services, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, National Emergency Management Agency and the armed forces”.

“Others were Julius Berger, NNPC , and other private corporate entities in the Federal Capital City FCC”, she added.

She quoted the Director General of FEMA, Alhaji Abbas Idriss as dismissing reports of looting at the premises.

“Immediately the agency got to the scene of the incident, the Security cordoned the area and fire fighting began. There was no looting whatsoever as being speculated by some people in the Social Media.

“What we saw on social media was staff of Next Cash and Carry trying to salvage the goods using trolleys. Nothing was taken out of the premises”, the DG said.

On the cause of the fire, Idriss said investigations were ongoing to ascertain the immediate cause of the fire.

He further said that no lives were lost to the incident neither was anyone within the premises injured.

Idriss appealed to business owners in the territory to factor in the risk element in their business plans, noting that fire trucks were hampered by limited access within the shopping mall.

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