By BENJAMIN OMOIKE
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has visited the scene of a midnight inferno which destroyed goods and property worth millions of Naira at Akere Auto Spare Part Market in Olodi Apapa, Ajeromi Ifelodun Local Government Area.
The Governor, on Wednesday, personally met with victims of the fire incident, conveying his sympathy and pledging support for the traders in assuaging their loss.
A taxi driver died in the incident, which affected over 90 spare part shops. Some unknown persons allegedly shot sporadically towards the market, killing one person and setting the market on fire.
Sanwo-Olu condemned the incendiary action, describing it as “unfortunate”. He directed the Commissioner of Police, Idowu Owohunwa, to conduct a full investigation into the incident and fish out the perpetrators.
The Governor, in company of the council chairman, Hon. Fatai Ayoola, and the market leader, Mr. Izuchukwu Uba, inspected the razed market, while officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Authority (LASEMA) cleared the site of charred materials to salvage unaffected goods.
A woman identified as the deceased’s wife, pleaded with the Governor to ensure thorough investigation into the incident and made a request for the release of her husband’s body for Muslim burial.
Sanwo-Olu condoled with the deceased’s family and promised assistance in burying the dead.
Addressing the traders, the Governor assured them that the State Government would get to the bottom of the matter, just as he ordered security be tightened around major markets to forestall similar attacks.
Sanwo-Olu said: “I commiserate with the family of taxi driver who was somewhere close to the market premises but lost his life in the incident. I am also here to share my sympathy with all shop owners who lost means of livelihood in this fire incident. But we don’t want to pass judgment ahead of investigation.
“In strong terms, I am directing the Commissioner of Police to immediately launch a full investigation into the cause of this incident. Given the issues we are hearing around, I am also directing the Commissioner to tighten security around markets. All vulnerable markets must be protected.
“People must not jump into conclusions as to the motives behind it, because this is an incident that affects everyone around this neighbourhood in one form or the other. We have received the list of all shop owners affected and we will vet the list for compensation to help the victims back on their feet.”
Sanwo-Olu said the State’s emergency response team would remain at the site until the area is cleared of rubbles. He pledged that the State Government would collaborate and work with the local council authorities to rebuild the market and return the traders back.
The Governor urged residents to continue to promote peaceful coexistence among members of their communities, stressing that his visit to the site was to further reassure victims of Government’s commitment to peace.
He said: “We will help to rebuild the market within a short term and we will personally ensure safety measures are put in place. Our visit is to further reassure all residents of the State that, as long as we are in Government, we will continue to promote peaceful coexistence among all communities. I am here to demonstrate that commitment and to personally support the rebuilding efforts.”