|By: Eric Elezuo Pictures: Ken Ehimen
The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has come out with its own version of the events that led to the fire incident at the Nigeria Customs Training College and Government Warehouse over the weekend.
In a statement released by the Service, and signed by its spokesman, DSC Uche Ejesieme, the event which happened on Friday, April 22, 2016, destroyed seized goods at the warehouse.
“On Friday 22nd April, 2016, at about 2200hrs, a major fire out break which led to massive destruction of seized goods at the Government Warehouse and a wing of the Customs Training College classroom Ikeja, occurred.
“The fire, which raged voraciously and uncontrollably, spread to Annexes A & B and inner chamber of the Government Warehouse, housing most of the seized items which included, but not limited to jumbo bales of second hand clothings, used female shoes/bags, used tyres, vegetable oils and other general merchandise,” Ejesieme said.
He pointed out that while the fire raged, prompt assistance was received from relevant agencies which helped to reduce loss to a minimal level while stressing that the actual cause of the fire is yet unknown.
”It is instructive to note that the attention of the Lagos State Fire Service and Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) was drawn few minutes into the incidence. The duo responded swiftly and made spirited effort to control the inferno by bringing in excavators, fire vehicles and other equipment. The cause of the inferno cannot be ascertained for now in view of that fact that the interim report from Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) and Lagos State Fire Service is still being awaited,” he said.
“Moreover, we cannot give the exact figure of goods destroyed in monetary terms, except when the internal auditors move in to check the books.
“We wish to recall that the internal auditors visited the Government Warehouse for inspection and auditing of records recently. We therefore, wish to clarify that neither the report nor any other classified document was affected by the inferno.
“We wish to further state that the items/materials that were being delivered to IDP camps in Borno State which were kept in a different wing of the warehouse in line with the Presidential directive were not affected. In fact, the Unit had delivered almost 90% of the items and delivery is still ongoing.
“We wish to commend the effort of the Lagos State Fire Service and Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), for their proactive effort in containing the fire incidence,” Ejesieme said.
While pledging to keep the media abreast of development, he declared that officers of LASEMA and Lagos State Fire Service are still at the scene trying to completely put out the fire.