The Minister of State, Federal Capital Territory, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, on Thursday, in Abuja, expressed concern over frequent fire outbreaks in major markets across the territory.
Aliyu expressed her concern when she visited the Gwarinpa Tipper Garage Market, scene of a recent fire incident that claimed one life.
The minister visited the scene, alongside Sen. Gbenga Ashafa, the Managing Director and Chief Executive of the Federal Housing Authority, the FCT Director of Fire Service, Malam Sani Sa’idu, among other top management staff.
Aliyu, who sympathized with victims of the fire, called for the upgrade of the market in line with global best practice, while assuring the victims of assistance from the FCT administration, in consultation with the Federal Housing Authority.
The minister, however, enjoined the traders to take precautionary measures as most of the goods sold in the market were highly inflammable.
Aliyu commended the traders for assisting the victims to salvage some of their goods, noting that in most cases of fire outbreak unscrupulous elements used the opportunity to cart away other people’s goods.
She lamented the inability of the FCT Fire Service personnel, who rushed down immediately, to gain access to the market due to poor planning, as all the major roads leading to the market were blocked by shops or corner shops.
“This actually is a pathetic case, especially that we even lost a life and so much property. Some families have been traumatised before they were rescued.
“We will sit together and see how we can bring support to those who were affected and much sympathy to the family of the bereaved.
“ But besides that, this also takes us to the very essence of town planning. In a city like the Federal Capital Territory, the number one city in the nation, should not even witness a place so overcrowded, in such a manner that does not befit a modern city.
“ We have to sit down and look at the real drawing of Abuja together and see how other markets will also be upgraded and existing markets would be looked into holistically to ensure that all these provisions are made,” she assured.
The Acting Director FCT Fire Service, Malam Sani Sa’idu, while conducting the minister round the scene, said that his men responded promptly, but could not gain access to the market due to inaccessible roads.
Sa’idu also maintained that as soon as the service received the information from the distressed traders, personnel were deployed and the Federal Fire Service activated for immediate assistance.