The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, visited Asaba, Delta State on Tuesday for an on-site visit and to commiserate with traders who lost goods and valuables in the Ogbeogonogo fire incident, which occurred in the early hours of May 26, 2020.
The fire destroyed the livestock and textile sections of the popular market located on Nnebisi Road, Asaba.
Speaking during a tour of the market, the Minister, who was accompanied by the Minister of State for Labour, Festus Keyamo (SAN), and the Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency, Air Vice Marshal Muhammadu Alhaji Muhammed (retd), said: “I am deeply saddened and immensely worried to be standing here today to commiserate with traders who have lost wares worth millions of naira in the latest fire incident to rock our nation, especially those in the affected sections.
“I want to extend my deepest sympathy and regrets to these hardworking Nigerians who have lost so much to this fire.
“But I am relieved to hear that no life was lost in the incident.
“I say relieved because as the popular adage goes: when there is life, there is hope.”
The Minister, who presented goods and materials to replace what was lost in the fire to various traders at the market, promised that her ministry was working in consultation with relevant agencies and stakeholders in evolving new strategies for an All-Hazard approach that will prioritise fire prevention and mitigation.
Continuing, she noted: “Nigeria has always been beset by fire incidents, but it will be very wrong of us to normalise tragedy.
“Early this week, I was in Borno State to commiserate and condole with the Governor and the people of the state over the tragic fire incident that claimed four lives and devastated property at the Muna Albadawy IDP Camp and here we are today bemoaning another fire incident.”
Farouq commended NEMA as well as Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and officials of the state emergency services for their prompt response and efforts to save the market.
Responding during a courtesy call to the State House, the Governor thanked the Minister for the site visit and commended the humanitarian gesture of providing replacements to the traders for items lost in the fire.
Traders received gifts made up of 120 sewing machines, 100 hair dryers, 80 grinding machines, 625 bags of rice, 625 bags of maize, 625 bags of beans, 31 bags of salt, 63 kegs of vegetable oil, 85 cartons of tin tomatoes, 56 cartons of seasoning, 1,875 bags of cement, 300 bundles of roofing sheets, 300 packs of zinc nails, 625 bags of 3 inches nails and 750 pieces of ceiling boards.