Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has sympathised with residents of Oko Baba in Ebute Metta, Lagos Mainland, over the fire incident in the community, describing the incident as unfortunate, even as he assured that government would bring relief to victims whose means of livelihood were destroyed.
The fire incident caused by sparks from electricity cables last Friday, completely razed all structures in the community.
Sanwo-Olu gave this promise on Sunday when the delegates sent visited the place to deliver his message of sympathy and to also take stock of the destruction in the community, with the aim to assuage the pain of the affected families.
The three cabinet members led by the Commissioner for Finance, Dr Rabiu Olowo, arrived at the community at 3:15 pm amid tight security, while the victims of the inferno trooped out to receive them, even as they pleaded with authorities for assistance over property lost to the fire.
Addressing the victims, among others, Olowo, while describing the incident as “unfortunate” and assuring that the government would reach out and bring relief to victims whose means of livelihood were destroyed, said the team had come to sympathise with the affected residents and the community as directed by Governor Sanwo-Olu.
He added that the delegation had also come to understudy the situation to enable know what to do in bringing succour to the victims who lost property and means of livelihood.
“We have come here to sympathise with the affected residents and the community as directed by Mr. Governor. We are also here to understudy the situation, so that we can know what to do in bringing succour to the victims who lost property and means of livelihood.
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“We have just inspected the site of the incident to take stock of the destruction; the situation we witnessed was not very good. We will get to the root cause of the fire incident in order to prevent future occurrence,” Olowo said.
“We will be meeting with the representatives of the victims to understand their wants and what we need to do to bring immediate relief,” he added.
Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr Idris Salako, in his own remark, noted that the destruction was monumental because of the wooden material used in building most of the structures.
According to him, the government would be considering a complete regeneration of the area in collaboration with the residents, assuring that none of the residents would be dislodged from the community.
It was learnt that some aggrieved victims, on Sunday morning, clashed with scavengers who moved to the scene of the fire to pick iron materials, leading to some people sustaining injury in the ensuing melee.
The governor’s delegation sued for peace, urging the police to maintain peace in the area.
The delegation also visited the hospitals where some of the injured residents were receiving treatment, with some of them recounting how the fire spread quickly from its source to other structures.
A Muslim cleric in the community, Imam Abdulhakeem Thanni, who said the incident was the third in three months, described the tragedy as an “act of God,” urging the government to help the residents.
A victim, Sherifat Balogun, said the fire, which was from sparks from electric cable after electricity was restored, started in the morning when most of the residents had left to their places of work.
“Majority of us lost everything to the fire. Even some who were around could only pick a few personal effects, because the fire spread faster than we imagined,” she said.
Other top Government officials in the delegation include Special Adviser on Civic Engagement, Princess Aderemi Adebowale; Chairman of Lagos Mainland Local Government, Mrs. Omolola Essien, and Vice-Chairman, Mr. Jubril Emilagba.