Goods and properties worth millions of nairas have been destroyed as fire gutted One of Nigeria’s top rated departmental stores, the Next Cash and Carry, located in Jahi, Abuja.
According to some passersby, the fire was caused by an electrical surge in the administrative section on the first floor of the supermarket.
The employees of the supermarket, however, accused personnel of the fire service of getting to the scene late.
“Fire service should try and improve, they came with just ten thousand liters of water while Berger came with thirteen thousand liters and they asked them to go, so Berger’s own was better than the government fire service why?” said one of the Business owners at the mall.
“I heard fire service officials so I ran to the place and saw everywhere burning and I didn’t like what I saw, Millions of naira have been lost. It made me pity people and also made me cry,” Madam Ngozi, a trader.
Ken, a resident in the area said he saw the fire on his way from church. But he could not wait for long because the intensity of the smoke was heavy.
“There were firefighters on sight though it was just one truck present at the time of the incident’” he added.
However, Head of Fire service Abuja, Karebo Samson, says there is no fire service station at Jahi where the mall is located.
“There is no fire service station at Jahi where the mall is located. The building is almost collapsing, the walls are cracking, it is like a football field in there, the fire started around 8am, the workers did not come to work on time, nobody was there to open the gates for the firemen to go inside, by the time I got the message, it was around 1pm. From 8am to 1pm, the fire will not wait,” he added.
“Our station is Gwarimpa, when the head office called us, and we moved immediately, we arrived here together with officers from the head office but before we got here, the fire had circled the whole building,” said Tajudeen Jimoh, FCT Fire service official.
Although there were reports of looting during the incident, head of operations, National Emergency Management Authority, (NEMA) Abuja, Uwaziri Johnson, said it was all false. Adding that the people seen with goods were employees moving out the goods from the store to a safe place.
He, however said the damage done by the inferno could not be immediately ascertained.
“The insinuations of people carrying out items is wrong, if you look over there, you will see that the items are intact, it was the employees that took charge,” he said.
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 malls, Next Cash and Carry, in which goods and property estimated at billions of naira were lost.