Minister Sadiya Farouq sympathises with NEXT supermarket owners as police refutes looting rumours (Videos)
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq has expressed sympathy over the fire incident that engulfed Next Cash and Carry Supermarket in the Jabi area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
The fire started around 11:00 am on Sunday.
Some workers at the supermarket confirmed to Arnews360.com the inferno was caused by an electrical surge which started from the information desk of the supermarket.
The minister’s Special Assistant on Media, Mrs Nneka Anibeze on Monday in Abuja quoted Farouq as decrying the rising incidents of fire disasters in the country and calling for caution to avoid repeats.
The minister said: “This is a sad occurrence happening on a day of celebration. It is most unfortunate for those who lost their goods and livelihood at this critical time.
“This is the harmattan season and prone to a lot of sparks and fire disasters.
“We urge shop owners, traders and market dwellers to be more vigilant and to endeavour to switch off all appliances before leaving their shops and markets.
“The fire at Next Cash and Carry is very unfortunate and we pray that this does not happen again.’’
Checks by Arnews360.com as at 11:00 am on Monday confirmed that the fire has been put out by firefighters.
Meanwhile, contrary to impressions created by videos on social media, the Police have said there was no looting at Next Cash and Carry Supermarket at Jahi District of Abuja during a fire outbreak at the store on Sunday.
However, videos circulated on social media show how goods were being carted away from the supermarket by people believed to be looters as firefighters were struggling to put out the inferno.
While dismissing impressions created in the viral videos, the FCT Police Command, in a statement by DSP Josephine Adeh, its spokesperson said there was no successful case of looting or carting away of goods from the store.
Rather, she said those seen in the video were well-meaning members of the community helping to cart away the goods to a safer location as the fire was raging under the supervision of policemen who were on ground during the incident.
She added that three suspects who made attempts to cart away goods from the store were promptly arrested.
Adeh listed the arrested looters as Ali Audu aged 18-years; Yahaya Yunusa aged 20-years; and Sahabi Abubakar 20-ears.
Her full statement reads: “Today Sunday, 26 December 2021, at about 1115 hours there was a report of a fire outbreak incidence at Next Cash and Carry Supermarket at Jahi District of the FCT.
“Upon receipt of the information, a team of Police officers attached to Mabushi Police Divisional Headquarters responded swiftly to the scene where a concerted effort of the Federal Fire Service, FCT Fire Service, Julius Berger Fire Service and members of other security agencies were deployed to manage the situation, minimize damage, extinguish the inferno and ensure the maintenance of law and order.
“Well-meaning members of the surrounding communities came out en masse and helped in evacuating goods and other valuables from the supermarket to a safe location within the area with the supervision of Police Officers of the Command who were on ground.
“This is contrary to the news making the rounds as there is no successful case of looting or carting away of goods from the store. The suspects who made attempts to cart away goods from the store and were promptly arrested include Ali Audu, Yahaya Yunusa and Sahabi Abubakar.