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Buhari orders investigation into Borno IDP Camp fire

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President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Hajiya Sadiya Farouk, to investigate last Thursday’s fire outbreak at an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Borno State.

The IDPs camp in Gambouru/Ngala was gutted by fire on Thursday, killing 14 people.

Senior Special Assistant to the President, Garba Shehu, in a statement in Maiduguri, yesterday, said the President described the inferno as extremely horrifying.

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He said President Buhari has directed Farouk to investigate and report the circumstances that led to the destruction of lives and property in the camp.

“Hajiya Sadiya Farouk should also advise on how future occurrences could be averted to save people’s lives and property,” the statement added.

The President also directed that urgently needed assistance should be given to the victims. He prayed for the repose of the souls of those who died in the inferno and the quick recovery of the injured persons.

This is as the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has commiserated with the victims of the fire incident and the government and entire people of Borno State.

Lawan, in a statement by his Special Adviser (Media), Ola Awoniyi, also called on relevant authorities to investigate the fire incident with a view to averting a re-occurrence.

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Aside from killing 14 persons, the fire also destroyed 1, 250 makeshift shelters, forcing displaced persons to take refuge in Ngala, a border town with Cameroon.

Confirming the incident yesterday in an interview in Maiduguri, Dr. Zainab Gimba, representing Bama/Ngala/Kalabalge Federal Constituency, said: “Fifteen persons sustained various degrees of injuries, while property including foodstuffs was destroyed in Thursday’s fire outbreak.”

She disclosed that dozens of households in the camp were displaced during the fire outbreak. “Over 50 per cent of the IDP camp was gutted by the evening fire,” she said, noting that the inferno has further compounded the plights of
13, 433 IDPs.

“I wish to sincerely sympathise with the victims of today’s fire disaster. I am deeply shocked and touched. For those that lost their loved ones, please accept my heartfelt condolences. For those that sustained injuries, I wish them quick recovery.

“I am also mindful of the fact that the next few weeks will be difficult because it is not easy to be an IDP and homeless at the same time,” she said.

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She, therefore, urged the Northeast Development Commission (NEDC), State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), NEMA, and UN Humanitarian Organisation to come to the aid of fire victims.

Chairperson of SEMA, Hajiya Yabawa Kolo, described the incident as unfortunate, noting that it came at a time when the state was faced with the humanitarian challenge of preventing COVID-19 pandemic.

According to her, a team of the agency would conduct on the spot assessment to ascertain the level of damages. She said the outcome of the assessment would determine the level of immediate humanitarian support needed by the victims.

In another development, the Senate President has condemned cases of extra-judicial killings by security agents as reported by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in the course of the enforcement of the lockdown ordered in parts of the country to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Lawan said he was saddened by the report by the NHRC that high-handed security operatives tasked to enforce the stay-at-home directives killed 18 persons.

The Senate President said that extra-judicial killings, in whatever guise, should be discouraged in the country. He called for a thorough investigation of the cases, stressing that those indicted should be promptly prosecuted.

“Life is sacred. It is a tragedy that those asked to enforce compliance with emergency measures adopted for public safety are now being accused of being responsible for needless and totally avoidable deaths of citizens,” Lawan said.

He urged Nigerians to continue to cooperate with the authorities as they strive to defend the country against the deadly virus.

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BuhariFire OutbreakIDP
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