– Building sealed as victims count losses
Monday, November 4, 2013, will always linger in the minds of traders and occupants of the Great Nigeria House, 57, Martins Street, Lagos Island, Lagos. On that fateful day, Nigerians woke up to learn of the fire that gutted the building around 6am. It was indeed a very pathetic situation as properties worth millions of naira were destroyed and business owners are still counting their losses.
According to one of them, Mr. Mike Okoro, “The fire has really destabilized me. I woke up on Monday morning to discover the fire outbreak. All the goods worth over N250,000 got burnt and I have N100,000 cash in the shop which also got burnt”.
Speaking to another trader in the building, Mr. Onyeka Kennedy, “My shop on the first floor which has few goods was not quite affected, but my other shop on the fifth floor which has some important documents, more goods and cash worth over N500,000 altogether had been totally burnt”.
The 25 storey building is owned by the Great Nigerian Insurance Company. It is also home to many businesses.
The cause of the fire is still unknown as at press time but some speculated it was as a result of electrical fault.
Now, it is still sketchy whether the building will be renovated or it is still fit for human habitation or to be demolished, as victims and occupants await the visit of the Lagos State government.
“I don’t know what to do if the building ends up getting demolished because as a cleaner that is where I make ends meet”, said Mrs. Janet Oyelawe.
Although, there was no life lost, the building has, however, been sealed up by security agents who are also guarding the area.
One of the security agents, Mr. Moses Udoh claimed that they prevented people from getting into the building to avoid casualty because the building might not be strong enough.
“It took us three days to put out the fire. It eventually stopped on Wednesday, November 6, 2013”, he said.
It would be recalled that some years back, another high-rise building which housed the Bank of Industries collapsed on the same Lagos Island.
‘I LOST ALL MY GOODS AND MONEY’ -Victor Nwoko (Trader)
I got a call around 6.30am on Monday from one of my co-traders that the building was on fire. I rushed down to the scene and could not believe my eyes. All the goods and N100,000 cash in the shop had been totally burnt. I still can’t believe I lost all my goods and money.
‘I hope they will not demolish the building’ – MRS. JANET OYELAWE (Cleaner)
I went there as usual with the aim of carrying out my cleaning duty on Monday morning but was shocked at what I saw. The fire was of great magnitude as fire fighters struggled to quench it. I just hope they will not demolish the building as I feed my family from cleaning it.
– OLADUNNI KOSOKO