Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has sympathised with residents of Oko Baba in Ebute Metta, Lagos Mainland, over the fire incident in the community.
All structures in the community were completely razed in the inferno caused by sparks from electricity cables. The incident occurred last Friday.
Sanwo-Olu, on Sunday, sent a delegation of three cabinet members, led by the Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Rabiu Olowo, to deliver his message of sympathy and to also take stock of the destruction in the community, with the aim to assuage the pain of the affected families.
The Governor’s emissaries arrived at the community at 3:15pm amid tight security. The victims of the inferno trooped out to receive the government officials, pleading with authorities for assistance over property lost to the fire.
Olowo described the incident as “unfortunate”, noting that the Government would reach out and bring relief to victims whose means of livelihood were destroyed.
He said: “We have come here to sympathise with the affected residents the community as directed by Mr. Governor. We are also here to understudy the situation, so that we can know what to do in bringing succour to the victims who lost property and means of livelihood.
“We have just inspected the site of the incident to take stock of the destruction; the situation we witnessed was not very good. We will get to the root cause of the fire incident in order to prevent future occurrence.”
“We will be meeting with the representatives of the victims to understand their wants and what we need to do to bring immediate relief.”
Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Idris Salako, noted that the destruction was monumental because of the wooden material used in building most of the structures.
He said Government would be considering a complete regeneration of the area. This, he said, will be done in collaboration with the residents, adding that none of the residents would be dislodged from the community.
It was learnt that some aggrieved victims, on Sunday morning, clashed with scavengers who moved to the scene of the fire to pick iron materials.
Some people were injured in the ensuing melee.
The Governor’s delegation sued for peace, while urging the police to maintain peace in the area. The delegation also visited the hospitals where some of the injured residents are receiving treatment.
Some victims relived the incident, recounting how the fire spread quickly from its source to other structures.
A Muslim cleric in the community, Imam Abdulhakeem Thanni, said the incident was the third in three months, describing the tragedy as an “act of God”. He urged the Government to help the residents.
A victim, Sherifat Balogun, said: “The fire started in the morning when most of the residents had left to their places of work. It was from sparks from electric cable after electricity was restored.
Majority of us lost everything to the fire. Even some who were around could only pick a few personal effects, because the fire spread faster than we imagined.”
Other top Government officials in the delegation include Special Adviser on Civic Engagement, Princess Aderemi Adebowale, Chairman of Lagos Mainland Local Government, Mrs. Omolola Essien, and Vice Chairman, Mr. Jubril Emilagba.