Lagos Fire: Sanwo-Olu receives NEMA DG, others, appreciates agency’s prompt deployment

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…NEMA sympathises with Lagos on disaster, pledges more advocacy to minimise fire risk

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Friday, received the leadership of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) led by its newly appointed Director-General, Mrs. Zubaida Umar.

The NEMA national leadership team was in Lagos to sympathise with the State Government on the fire disaster that razed no fewer than 14 multi-storey buildings and destroyed assets worth millions in Docemo Market on Lagos Island, last Tuesday.

The visit came just as the Lagos State’s emergency response team was winding up its recovery effort at the fire scene.

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Sanwo-Olu, who received the NEMA team at the State House in Marina, conveyed his appreciation to the agency’s boss for prompt deployment of first responders from NEMA to join the State’s emergency response team in combating the inferno minutes after the alert was sent out.

The Governor, who noted that 120 tanks of water were used up before the inferno was brought under control, commended the first responders from both the State and federal levels for their round-the-clock action to salvage the situation and stop the spread of the fire.

Sanwo-Olu, however, decried the incident, expressing his disappointment on the “reckless handling of flammable materials” in the market. He said the firefighters arrived at the fire scene on time and could have saved some of the razed assets but added that the responders could not gain access to the fire source due to obstruction along the tiny street.

He said: “Before the unfortunate fire incident, we had conducted sensitisation and held extensive advocacy for traders on the need to refrain from acts that could potentially endanger their lives and their trading environment. We are utterly disappointed because we believe the incident could be avoided. Some traders in the market were completely reckless and inconsiderate.

“There have been disagreements among the traders as the cause of the fire, with some of them linking it to sabotage and others saying leadership tussle. But that did not take away the fact that they were completely irresponsible in endangering their assets and those of others in the market. Our response to this laxity will be very decisive in the coming days and we will ensure the reckless tendency of the traders is curtailed.”

Sanwo-Olu said the State Government had commenced enumeration of the razed area to ascertain the loss of the traders, with the aim to support them back on their feet. This data, he said, would be shared with NEMA to help the agency properly channel its support for the affected traders.

Mrs. Umar said the visit was to show solidarity with the State Government and to show support to the first responders who had remained in the scene since the incident started.

She pledged that NEMA would raise the level of its awareness and sensitisation on power utilisation in closely built markets to minimise risk of fire and mitigate emergency situations.

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