The FCT Minister, Muhammad Bello has promised victims of the recent fire disaster in Karmo market, Abuja, that the Administration will work with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Abuja Municipal Area Council to implement measures that would bring succour to the victims.
The Minister made this pledge when he paid an unscheduled visit to the scene of fire which was reported to have started at about 1am on Thursday, 30 November 2017.
Bello lamented that the fire had come at the time the Administration was considering plans to upgrade the market and similar others located around the city to make them safer and modern. This, he noted, is because the state of these markets is inconsistent with the ideals of a modern city and would naturally hinder safety operations during emergencies.
He praised the rescue team which comprised NEMA, FEMA – the FCT emergency agency) and the Navy fireteams for their prompt response and the professional manner with which they isolated region of inferno to save a larger portion of the market. The Minister expressed delight that the outbreak did not happen in the daytime when the traffic condition of the road would have significantly hampered the movement of fire-fighting machines and logistics.
The Director-General of the NEMA, Mustapha Maihaja described the development as sad and harped on the need to embrace measures that stop fires or prevent them from escalating. He said people have a responsibility to follow the rules and regulations that guide conducts that limit or eliminate this kind of occurrences.
The Chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council, Hon. Adamu Abdulahi Candido, indicated that the Area Council has appealed for the return of the market to the community to enable the Area Council work with the community to upgrade it. He noted that the last administration had taken over the market but implored that the market should be reallocated to the community as, according to him, “it is not good that community should be without an own market.”
Earlier, while thanking the Minister for his visit, the Chief of Jiwa, Alh. Idris Musa, praised the efforts of the various agencies involved in the rescue operations for their prompt response which saved the fire from spreading to the residential areas. He thanked the security agencies like the police and the Civil Service for effectively locking down the market during and after the fire, to prevent looting and vandalization.
He put the estimate of the losses from the fire, which gutted mostly the foodstuff segment, in millions of naira, while calling on the government to come to the rescue of the affected victims.