The Controller General, Federal Fire Service, Mr Jaji Olola, has visited Maiduguri over the recent fire incidents that gutted three markets in Borno.
The affected markets are the popular Monday Market, Biu Central Market part of Gamboru Market in Maiduguri metropolis.
Speaking during the visit on Tuesday, Olola who sympathised with the victims, lauded the state government for measures taken to cushion the effects on the victims and the support to fire fighters for their active role in containing the disaster, particularly at Gamboru market.
“My mandate is to commiserate with victims of the fire hazard, assess the level of damage caused by the disaster, enlighten the general public on what might be the likely causes and proffer solutions to mitigate against future situations knowing fully well that most fire outbreaks are preventable
“From experience, I know that the losses incurred from market fires are usually phenomenal, running into billions, not to talk of the socio-economic and psychological impact it will have on traders and their families especially in times like this.
“I understand how you feel and sympathise with those affected directly and indirectly, praying that God will help you bounce back in no distant time,” he said.
Olola, who noted that only few traders are enlightened to appreciate the importance of installing fire protection devices, said he had directed his men to embark on massive fire prevention campaigns across the state using local languages to enlighten traders and shop owners to be more aware on how to handle and manage fire situations.
“We have also provided additional fire extinguishment elements to the Service Command in Maiduguri with the view to better equip the Command to tackle fire incidents in the state,” the controller said.
The state Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Babakura Abba-Jato, who lauded the role played by fire men during the incidents, said the state goverment has 65 fire trucks who work in collaboration with their federal counterparts.
Abba-Jato said Gov. Babagana Zulum was impressed with the performance of the firemen that he gave each fireman N100,000 and a 50kg bag of rice.
“He also directed them to compile a report on preventive measures and any equipment needed to enhance their job,” the commissioner said.
In their respective remarks, the General Manager of Monday Market, Alhaji Mustapha Loskori, and the Chairman of Gamboru Market Traders Association, Alhaji Modu Maiduri, also lauded the role of firemen in reducing the level of destruction and promised to fully cooperate with them in taking preventive measures.
“I want to thank Governor Zulum for his quick intervention in releasing N1 billion support to victims of Monday market and another N1 billion for the commencement of reconstruction work in the market,” Loskori said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that while in Maiduguri, the controller paid courtesy calls on the governor represented by the State Head of Service, Alhaji Fannami, and the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Umar Garbai El-Kanemi. (NAN)