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Saraki convenes dialogue on preventing market fires

Saraki convenes dialogue on preventing market fires
May 28
19:30 2021

Bukola Saraki, former president of the senate, has hosted a dialogue seeking lasting solutions to fires at market places.

The former senate president collaborated with the Africa Politeia Institute (TAPI) and Adopt a Goal for Development Initiative (AAGI) on the parley, which was held in Abuja.

Experts who spoke at the event suggested measures such as insurance, proper planning and central electricity generation system, as important ways to prevent market fires across the country.

Joseph Anebi, former comptroller-general of the Federal Fire Service; Debbie Windele, a fire safety expert, and Taibat Lawanson, an urban planning and development specialist from UNILAG; Usman Kibon, a director at the Centre for Disaster Risk Management, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Ebose Osegha, chief executive officer of Anchor General Insurance Company, and McDonald Ifeanyi, an IT specialist, were at the event.

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In his address, Windele said the use of centralised electricity generating system will help prevent fire outbreaks, and that fire stations should be located close to markets.

On his part, Osegha said funds that politicians donate to traders when there is a fire incident could be used to provide the needed infrastructure.

“The general belief among most shop owners is that insurance does not work in Nigeria. When a market fire incident occurs, you’ll see politicians donating hundreds of millions for rehabilitation and reconstruction,” he said.

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“Most times, these monies do not even get to the intended beneficiaries. A fraction of that amount would have been used to secure the market and ensure that needed infrastructure is in place to ensure that losses are minimised.”

Apart from having a central electricity generation system, Lawanson said renewable energy sources like solar should be considered for the markets.

“Also, our local governments must begin to work because most markets where these fire outbreaks occur are in our LGAs,” she added.

“A situation where our local governments are incapacitated, the leaders will not care about the market design so long as there are more people coming in who are ready to pay taxes.”

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Saraki said during his time as a lawmaker, he helped reconstruct 25 stalls in Baboko market, Ilorin, which were burnt in a fire incident.

“I recollect that during my tenure as the governor of Kwara state, our administration in Kwara state had to totally reconstruct the Kulende market as a way of showing our commitment to traders,” he said.

“Our government also constructed, from scratch, the Adewole market in Ilorin west LGA as a way of creating a new town around the Adewole estate which we constructed also on virgin, hitherto bushy land areas of the state capital.”

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