By Benjamin Omoike
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has ordered full scale investigation into the cause of the fire incident which gutted the popular Amu Plank Market located in Mushin area of the state destroying 11 houses and goods worth over N10 billion.
The governor, who stated this when he visited the market with his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, and other members of his cabinet lamented the huge losses recorded in the wake of the market inferno.
He said relevant government agencies had been mobilised to take inventory of the situation and report back to the government.
The governor said, “This is a rather very unfortunate incident, nobody ever imagined this amount of destruction to happen in this market. We will also further start full investigation into the remote causes of this fire incident so that we can plan in future how to forestall incidents like this.
“After the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), and other agencies have finished their physical process, we will come back with Ministry of Physical Planning to take inventory of the various store owners in this place and also sit with our market leaders to see what kind of lasting solution that we can bring about in markets like this.
“We will do enumeration of the houses affected by the fire incident. Then the government will go back and see what support it can render. We thank God that it is only goods that were lost, no life was lost. Because we cannot equate the life of anybody to any amount of goods and services.”
Sanwo-Olu allayed the fears of the traders that the government will take over their market, assuring that the government will help to rebuild the market.
The traders who spoke at separate interviews appealed to the governor to support them to go back to their businesses and help in rebuilding the market.
He sympathised with victims of the inferno, describing it as unfortunate indeed.
The inferno, which started in the midnight of last Saturday, was said to be the first major fire incident in the popular timber market, in which no life was lost.
Men of the Lagos State Fire Service and emergency response teams from Lagos State Emergency Management Authority (LASEMA) and Lagos State Safety Commission remained on the site to completely put the situation under control and salvage unaffected goods. They were joined by teams of firefighters from Federal Fire Service and Julius Berger.
The Governor, who was received by a large crowd of traders, reiterated that there would be a thorough investigation to unravel the cause of the inferno, while pleading with them to allow the emergency response teams to complete debris removal process on the site before embarking on efforts to re-construct the burnt shops.
He added: “Let me say it clearly to all traders in this market that, we do not plan to take over this market. We will work with you to see how to re-construct this place, so that business activities can return to the market. There so many families affected by this; we will help them to rebuild their lives.”
Sanwo-Olu stressed that the magnitude of the destruction left by the inferno brought up the necessity for the Government to collaborate with the traders in providing fire safety facility around the market with the aim to forestall future occurrence. He added that Ministry of Physical Planning would work with the market leaders to rebuild the market.
The Governor directed the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), to remove charred materials left on the site free of charge, while urging the crowd at the scene to allow smooth recovery process.
The youth leader in the market, Alhaji Tajudeen Sanni, who spoke on behalf of victims, said goods worth N10 billion were destroyed by the fire. He appreciated the Governor for offering to support the victims, adding that the assurance by Governor not to take over the market would help victims to fully recover from their losses.
Chairman of Mushin Local Government, Hon. Bamigboye Emmanuel, assured the traders of support, saying the council would work with the State Government to introduce fire safety measures around the market.