The Federal Government on Wednesday sympathised with the management of the Next Cash & Carry, Abuja over a fire incident and pledged its readiness to offer possible assistance towards its resuscitation.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that fire gutted the Next Cash & Carry Supermarket on Sunday and goods worth several billions of naira were destroyed.
Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development made this known when she visited the site of the inferno.
“This is a very unfortunate incident. It is catastrophic and a loss not just to the management of this company, but to the government and the country at large.
“Immediately the fire started, we deployed officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) together with other sister agencies to come and assist in the rescue operations.
“As you can see, the extent of damage cannot be quantified. The government offers its deepest sympathy to the management and team of Next Cash and Carry and we will also come in as a government to see how we can support you.
“I hereby call for caution to avoid more fire outbreaks. This is because, incidence of fire outbreaks are usually high during the harmattan season,” Farouq said.
Farouq thanked Nigerians for their support in trying to salvage some items.
“ It is also critically important that an establishment like this or any other commercial or public building should put in place necessary arrangements to prevent disasters like this and also update their fire prevention drills”.
Responding, the General Manager of the business, Mr Neil Pape sought government’s support as they begin rebuilding the business premise.
“The losses are under investigation and it is huge. As soon as we have the total amount lost and we get the records of all the stock in our business, we will give you a feedback in a press release.
“This is devastating, because, it happened on Sunday. We have had all manner of high profile persons coming in to assist and see what happened.
“We will need the support of the government as we streamline plans to open a new store,” Pape said. (NAN)