The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL’s National Secretariat located within the Humanity Centre, 610, Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, Ijaye Bus Stop, Ijaiye-Ojokoro, was gutted by fire early Wednesday morning.
In a release issued by CACOL and signed by Tola Oresanwo, the anti-corruption organization’s Director, Administration and Programmes on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he stated, “The Humanity Centre that houses headquarters of many civil society organizations, including the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, gutted fire earlier today after the office closed for the day’s commitments and locked the building yesterday. The immediate and remote causes of the inferno which gutted the ante room to the Director of Administration’s office are not known but electrical surge was suspected as the likely cause. Due to the fact that all doors to other offices were securely closed, the fire did not go beyond the office where it originated from, only the smoke passed through the openings around the entrances and left thick hoots on all the office equipment, furniture, fittings, walls and the floors of other offices”.
In their bid to curtail the fire, the first responders who happened to be the good people living around the area had to break the main access door and the windows of the office where the fire was raging, and eventually put it out. This was after the fire had destroyed office equipment, electronics, furniture and fittings valued at millions of naira. The only consolation is that no life was lost in the incident.
Some of the residents of the area, the estate agent to the premises Mr. Adeyemo, and the Chairman of CACOL called the Lagos State Emergency number (112) but instead of getting a favourable response from them they were being asked some frivolous and trivial questions.
The Chairman further remarked, “I am still amazed at the level of mediocrity displayed by the personnel of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA). I personally called the emergency number around 4:29 am and I was expecting to be attended to as someone who urgently need help but unfortunately despite the claim that they now have improved response time to emergencies, they were asking if I am at the scene of the incident, I told them the place is our office and we don’t sleep at the office, they further asked what is the magnitude of the fire and how sure am I that the fire is really burning the building”.
We are still at a loss concerning the cause of the fire, though we are not suspecting sabotage but the men of the fire service would have used their expertise to decipher the real cause of the fire had it been they responded to our call.
“Though we are grateful that no life was lost in the incident and we appreciate all those living in the neighbourhood who tried their best to put out the fire, we would like to use this medium to call on the Lagos State Government to go beyond the provision of safety and rescue infrastructures and equipment but also invest heavily in the area of training and retraining of the personnel of the emergency contact centre, who are the first line of contact so as to make them more efficient and responsive to the yearnings of the people during emergencies”.