The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Sadiya Umar Farouq has visited the site of the inferno which raised a popular shopping complex in Abuja known as Next Cash and Carry.
The Minister who visited the building to ascertain the extent of damage at the facility, described the losses as catastrophic and colossal.
“This is a very unfortunate incident. It is catastrophic and a loss not just to the management of this company but to the government and the country at large.
“Immediately the fire started, we deployed the National Emergency Management Agency NEMA together with other sister agencies to come and assist in rescue operations. As you can see, the extent of damage cannot be quantified. The government offers its deepest sympathy to the management and team of Cash and Carry and we will also come in as a government to see how we can support this organization”.
While empathizing with the shop management, Umar Farouq thanked Nigerians for their support in trying to salvage some items. She also called for caution as more outbreaks will be expected in the harmattan season.
“ It is also critically important that an establishment like this or any other commercial or public building should put in place necessary arrangements to prevent disasters like this and also update their fire prevention drills”, the minister said.
In his response, the General Manager of Cash and Carry Mr Neil Pape rued the disaster and sought government’s support as they begin rebuilding the business premise.
“The losses of the building are still under investigation and it is huge. As soon as we have the total amount lost and we get the records of all the stock in our business, we will give you a feedback in a press release. This is devastating because it happened on Sunday. We have had all manner of high profile persons coming in to assist and see what happened. We will need the support of the government as we streamline plans to open a new store”.
Next Cash And Carry went up in flames on the eve of Boxing Day.