Traders at the Balogun
market in Lagos Island have been counting their losses following the early morning fire outbreak on Monday, claiming they lost goods worth N30 billion.
In separate interviews, the traders told newmen that about 11 containers containing bags, shoes and clothing materials had just been off loaded into some of the shops that were razed.
Mrs Kadiri Kareem, an attendant in one of the shops, said that her employer had goods worth N27 billion in his containers.
“The containers have just arrived and we have barely completed offloading the goods.
“Nothing has been sold out of them before this fire. This is not a good way to start the New Year,’’ she said.
Another trader, Mr Okechukwu Anyiam, said he lost goods in four shops and do not know how to start quantifying the losses.
“My God, is this how I will start this New Year?
“When we left yesterday there was no sign that there will be fire. Where do I start from here,’’ he lamented.
“It is not good to rent many shops in one place,’’ Mrs Iyabo Adebola, another trader said.
According to her, many of the shops razed in the plaza are owned by wholesale traders in wears and accessories.
Mr Rasaq Ekunsumi, the Secretary of the Balogun Community in Central Lagos, said that the fire started around 4 a.m. from one of the containers attached to the five-storey building.
He said that the building first went up in flames and spread to other shops.
He added that the fire spread quickly because the items in the containers were inflammable.
“We started calling the fire service immediately the flame was noticed. But they did not arrive until fire had spread to two adjacent buildings.
“It is not what we could handle because the fire began where rubber products are being sold,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Rasaq Fadipe, the Director, Lagos State Fire Service, has called for assistance from other rescue agents as they moved equipment to fight the inferno.
He made the call while inspecting the fire fighting operation at the market.
According to him, the help was need to remove obstructions around the area to enable fire trucks access the buildings and combat the fire.
The Tide source reports that both the National Emergency management Agency (NEMA) and the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) are on ground to assist the fire service in curtailing further spread of the fire.
Others are the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), the Red Cross and Lagos Island Community leaders.
Immigration Steps Up Anti-Touting Vigilance
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Passports Command, Ikoyi, has increased its surveillance on touting in a bid to check extortion within its jurisdiction.
Speaking in an exclusive chat with The Tide in Lagos, last Friday, the Immigration Comptroller, Passports Office, Ikoyi, Lagos, Deputy Comptroller Liman A.I , said the negative impact of touting on the nation’s economy would not be allowed to continue under his watch.
He said ,”we are applying persuasion, dialogue and seeking the support of all well meaning stakeholders in this area to spread the anti-touting message and dissuade people from unlawful acts. However, we could apply coercive power as the need arises.
“With the selfless leadership shown by the Comptroller General, Alhaji Mohammed Babandede, we at the PCO, Ikoyi, Lagos, have decided to re-dedicate ourselves to duty and complement the efforts of the CGIS.
“We are prepared more than ever to wage the anti-miscreants war relentlessly.
Liman assured the general public of friendly environment for legitimate transaction in an effort to strengthen the national economy, warning deviants to shun touting and other related vices.
According to him, “the command has keyed into the various strategies including the use of ICT in gathering of intelligence, among others.
“The service believes that the fight against miscreants within its corridor cannot be undertaken by the service alone, hence our call on Nigerians to partner with us in ensuring that the passport seekers do not patronise touts to defraud them. Our resolve is unshaken and our commitment is total”.
On her part, the Public Relations Officer of the command, a Deputy Superintendent of Immigration (DSI), Mrs Adetoun Shiyindemi, commended the Deputy Comptroller Liman, for his selfless service, pointing out that he has really given the officers and men of the command a sense of belonging.
“Since the Comptroller came in, it has been a servant-leader relationship here at Ikoyi PCO and we are all motivated to put in our best with what the CGIS has given us, you will see a new immigration service”, she assured.
By: NkpemenyieMcdominic, Lagos
Union Urges NIMASA, RSG To Dredge PH/Bonny Jetty
The Bonny Maritime Transport Association (BMTA) has called on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Rivers State Government to dredge the Port Harcourt/Bonny Jetty to enhance marine operations.
The union said the low shore of the river hampers its operations and grounds boats.
The Marine Safety Officer, BMTA, Comrade Kings Don, who made the call, said the low shore of the jetty was not helpful to marine operations.
According to him, drivers and passengers find it difficult to ply the route whenever the tide is low, thus wasting man hours.
“Sometimes, we push the boat to a level it would afloat due to low tide suffered in the jetty. We are appealing to NIMASA and the state government to assist and dredge the jetty for more efficiency”, he pleaded.
Don described the Port Harcourt/Bonny Jetty as the gateway to Bonny Island and other riverine communities, and called on NIMASA and the state government to intervene and make the marine sector viable in the area.
He said that the prompt dredging of the jetty would enhance water transportation in the state and improve its revenue generation.
He, however, commended the security agents, especially the Nigerian Navy and the marine police, for rescuing the waterways and creeks from all forms of criminality.
Comrade Don appealed to the security agents to engage in 24-hour patrol of the routes and other channels to save lives and property.
By: Chinedu Wosu
Boat Mishaps: Ship Owner Blames Absence Of Safety Regulations
A renowned ship owner in the country, Alhaji Aminu Umar, has decried lack of standardisation and enforcement of safety measures on the nation’s inland waterways by the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA).
He also blamed lack of will to enforce regulations, safety, standard and regulations on overloading, night voyage, rickety and old craft as causes of mishap on the inland waterways.
Alhaji Umar, who is a former president, Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA), said in Minna, Niger State, recently that enforcement of safety and standard on the nation’s inland waterways was weak.
Reacting to incessant boat mishaps in the country, Umar said, “there is no standard applied on movement of people, as all kinds of boat are being used. It is important that we standardise, because lack of safety and standard will increase accident.
“I think, the task of NIWA is to standardise conditions and procedures on the nation’s waterways”.
He also called for the regulation of movement of badges and passenger boats across the port environment.
“It’s a huge risk allowing badges moving containers around the port area side by side with boats carrying passengers.
“Moving people and containers at the same time is a huge risk, and a safety concern.
“NIWA and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) should see to this and tackle the menace”, he said.
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