FG says no cause for alarm on fire incident at Immigration headquarters

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The Federal government has calmed all nerves saying there is no cause for alarm over the fire incident that gutted a building at the headquarters of the Nigerian Immigration Service on Sunday.

The Minister of Interior Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola assured Nigerians at home and abroad that all the damages are done to the building, the furniture and documents, as well as data destroyed, would be fixed within seven days.

The Minister who admitted that some strategic records and data were lost to the incident, assured that there is sufficient back up to ensure that the operations of the service continued unhindered.

Aregbesola who briefed the media on the incident was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Dr Shuaib Belgore.

He was flanked at the briefing which took place at the Headquarters of the Service by the Comptroller General of Immigration, Muhammad Babadende and other Senior Officers.

Aregbesola said: “I will like to assure Nigerians home and abroad that the unfortunate fire incident of yesterday would not hinder the activities of the Immigration Service for those who want Passports and Visas.

“We are proud that the response meted out for the fire incident was prompt, fast and well-coordinated. It is unfortunate, but it displayed the unity within the agencies under the Ministry of Interior.

“The Federal Fire Service was on hand and when the fire became a bit more they required backup and other sister agencies put out the fire with them. The fire destroyed the call centres, the data information centre and the Interpol passengers information system.

“All these are technology backed structures and they were actually badly hit, but I am happy to say that all systems have backup systems such that restoring service to Nigerians and all other users of the systems would not be hampered.

“We expect full services to return as soon as possible. No financial records or information were destroyed by the incident. ”

Providing details on the extent of damage, the Comptroller General said he could not give exert figures regarding cost, but that some international partners with the agency have promised to assist.

He said the call centre which was affected takes an average of 10,000 calls per day from Nigerians home and abroad who make enquiries on Passports, Visas and other travelling documents.

According to him the data centre also affected was one that linked to 24 others across the country, and it means the Abuja/Headquarters was now cut off and unable to monitor activities in the airports simultaneously.

Babadende, however, said right now data are being uploaded manually at the headquarters to cover for the disruption, assuring that within the next three days this vital area would be fixed.

He said the technology centre that would house strategic data and information services being built with state of the art equipment at the headquarters would soon be completed, assuring that the building also had fireproof facilities.

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