From SADIQ ABUBAKAR, Maiduguri –
President Muhammadu Buhari has described as extremely horrifying, the news of the death of 14 persons from the fire incident at an internally displaced persons (IDPs) camp in Ngala, Borno State.
President Buhari’s condolence message is contained in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media & Publicity, Garba Shehu.
According to the statement, the President directed the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to investigate and report the circumstances leading to the incident, and advise on how a future occurrence will be averted.
He also directed that urgently needed assistance be immediately given to the victims, and prayed to Allah to repose the souls of those whose lives were lost, and the quick recovery of the injured persons.
Although the details of the fire incident in Ngala remained scanty at the time of this report, it was gathered that there was another fire incident at an IDPs camp in Mafa Local Government Area of Borno state.
It also learnt that not less than 700 sheds were destroyed by the inferno at the IDPs camp in Ngala and Mafa Local Government Area of Borno State.
The Secretary of the Local Government of Mafa LGA , Alhaji Mohammed Lawan-Sheriff, disclosed to newsmen on Tuesday in Maiduguri that many households were affected which prompted Governor Babagama Umara Zulum to visit the scenes of the inferno Friday morning to access the extent of damage and provide some relief materials and other palliatives to the victims.
Sheriff also said that dozens of households in the camps were displaced during the fire disaster, which started at about 11 a.m. on Tuesday and lasted for several hours.
According to him, the fire outbreak started from a tent within the IDPs camp and gutted other tents as here was no rescue from the fire service r at the camp at the time of the inferno in Mafa.
However, Lawan said the combined efforts of the IDPs, Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF), security operatives and good samaritans brought the fire under control.
He said,”immediately, we heard about the incident, we quickly mobilised the host community and rushed to the scene to put out the fire. So far, no death was recorded”.
Despite the fire under I, the secretary said that the LGC and humanitarian partners were working assiduously to address the humanitarian situation at the IDPps camps.
He said,” We have asked the 11 camp managers to assess the level of damage and do the head count to ensure that everyone is safe, while an ambulance was placed on standby to evacuate any injured persons”.
It will be recalled that Mafa IDPs camp is one of the largest IDPs camps in the state and accimodate over 4,782 displaced households who are mostly women, children and the adults from Mafa, Dikwa and Konduga LGAs of the state.