By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
The Asiwaju Odo Odua, Otunba Rotimi Ajanaku on Tuesday asked the Federal and state Governments in the country to be more proactive on the incensant fire incidents across the country.
Otunba Ajanaku in a statement made available to newsmen in Ibadan by his media aide, Prince Adebowale Adeoye after an on the sport assessment visit to the Akesan market in Oyo town razed by fire last week pointed out that the Akesan market fire incident in Oyo town could have being an avoidable disaster if the there are pro active measures by governments instead of witnessing colossal damage and as well a painful and a huge loss to the affected traders.
He stressed that the fire disaster at the Akesan market in Oyo could have been avoided had the authorities collecting 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, saying, “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, it has been on since 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,” he said.
Otunba Ajanaku added, “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.”
“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.”
He noted that the traders knowingly or otherwise subjected themselves to this agony having failed to embrace opportunity offered by insurance companies”, adding, “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 insure 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,”
Otunba Ajanaku then charged government at all levels to ” 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.