Home News AKESAN INFERNO: Ajanaku Challenges Govs, FG On Persistent Fire Incidents In Marketplaces

AKESAN INFERNO: Ajanaku Challenges Govs, FG On Persistent Fire Incidents In Marketplaces

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Reacting to the fire incident that gutted Akesan Market in the ancient town of Oyo, in Oyo State, Asiwaju Rotimi Ajanaku described the incident as a disaster, embarrassing and colossal damage.

Ajanaku who had earlier on Sunday morning despatched a team led by his media aide, Prince Adebowale Adeoye to Oyo for on-site accessment of the damage and to investigate possible cause of the terrible ruins described the incident as a painful and a huge loss to the affected traders.

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“Accordingly to the report gathered by a team of information experts sent by me to access the level of damage and possible cause of the fire that gutted Akesan Market in Oyo, the incident would have been avoided had the authorities that collect taxes and levies from traders every year put in place some simple precautionary measures at a price so ridiculiously low to be compared with value of the harvoc done now by the fire.

“It’s also a function of the unfairness of those in government to the masses who elected them. Mind you, it didn’t start during Makinde or Ajimobi’s regimes but let’s dragged it back to when the economy was bouyant to accommodate reconstruction of various market to modern and international standard. From the information gathered, Akesan market was older than Nigeria herself, but remained local and below the standard of an average modern market.

“The way those administering this country treat the masses is pathetic, very annoying, whether military or civilian the interest of the masses is not just there. We should give priority to the protection of lives and property of our people rather than coming together always to pledge financial or material support which has no correlation with the burden of debts already hanging on the victims of the disaster,” Ajanaku pointed.

“To the traders, Yorubas believe if people don’t love you, obviously you must love yourself. If not that keeping records and disseminating information to the people are not our priority in Nigeria, otherwise we would have known that several of our traders (men and women) commit suicide consciously and unconsciously each time they’re faced with one disaster or the other. Why? Because most of them are indebted to banks, financial services organizations or purchase their goods on credit. They subjected themselves to this agony because they failed to embrace opportunity offered by insurance companies.

“After all if we should consider the Yoruba interpretation of Insurance company, A d’oju t’ofo (shaming disaster), by this interpretation it’s simply means when disaster occurs, traders should be rest assured of having their investment replaced by the insurance company. Imagine someone who invested over two million in a business but couldn’t insur same business with a some below two hundred thousand naira only. Had it been that their businesses were insured they would have returned home joyfully.

“Government and insurance companies should team up to educate our traders, business owners including small scale business owners on the importance of insurance to the survival of their businesses. Insurance companies in Nigeria should also repackage and rebrand their businesses and products, also domesticate it to meet the standard of the market men/women.

“It was also discovered that clumsiness of the market, and lack of modern fire fighter equipment at all strategic places in the marketplace responsible for the escalation of the fire to the level of ruined goods worth several billions of naira,” Ajanaku stated

“Government at all levels must ensure that all major marketplaces in Nigeria are upgraded to 21st century compliance with ultramodern state-of-the-art facilities to reduce cases of fire and other accidents to insignificant level.Of course there could be fire outbreak but the impact would be minimal.”

Our economy keeps losing several billions of naira yearly to fire disaster which could have been prevented with an amount less than 30% of yearly loss. It’s a great embarrassment and a disgrace to us as a nation. I would like to advise that government should not just reconstruct the affected market but follow the international standard, engage certified professionals who are in to real estate development, including architects and engineers.

“A fire in the marketplace is the most devastating hazards for not only the traders but the public as well. So fire safety is pretty important. Team of certified health and safety professionals must be in each of our markets to deliver prompt, cost-effective health and safety. A marketplace assessment for fire safety should be done for every new market or when the current market undergoes changes and fire extinguishers must be keep in each of the shops, all fire extinguishers should be routinely inspected. Keep aisles and stairways clear. Fire exits must be regularly inspected and maintained to ensure that they work and are not blocked by items stored in halls, or other debris outside.

“Our legislators should also sponsor a bill that will compel every owner of a market in Nigeria (community/local government council/state or even federal government) to take certain fire prevention measures. Compel them to manage the risk of fires in order to protect the safety of traders and visitors/consumers/customers and limit physical damage. Ensure that every market has a plan in place to minimize the likelihood and impact of fires. There must be fire prevention strategies. Fire risk management is no exception: prevention is key.

“Ensure buildings are up to code. Consider all aspects of the construction, including the type of roof, what the primary structure is made of, and exterior and interior finishing materials. Ideally, buildings should be either fire resistive or noncombustible. Regularly inspect buildings and equipment. Buildings and equipment wear down over time and fire resistant materials can become less effective. Qualified professionals such as contractors, electricians, or certified inspectors should perform annual checks to see if any pieces need to be repaired or replaced. Build traders awareness and training programmes. Prevention is only effective when all individuals play a role.

“Designate internal safety officers for each market. Owners of markets must consider automatic or manual fire suppression systems that will stop a fire from spreading. Automatic fire suppression systems include sprinkler systems, chemical suppression such as CO2 and Halogen systems, and fire doors. Ensure that safety equipment are properly installed, regularly maintained, and that all employees know what measures to take when fire alarm is activated.

“Evacuation plans and escape routes should be professionally designed, well displayed, and well-known by market management staff, traders and as well as visitors to the market. Regularly have fire drills so management can practice evacuation plans, and ensure they know what to do if there are customers in the market. Create fire preparation plans for any staff members who may need assistance evacuating, and have refuge areas where they can safely stay until help is available. Designate a meeting place at least 50 metres away from the premise where people can gather after they have been evacuated.

Meanwhile, Ajanaku has promised to support the victims of the fire incident, assist government in at any capacity that he should on the fire issue, especially on Akesan market, in Oyo. He also promised to pay homage to the Alaafin of Oyo, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi lll and has critical discuss with the royal father on reconstruction of Akesan market.

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