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LASEMA Blames Ikeja Electric for Ketu Plank Market Fire

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Ifelodun Ketu Demurin Plank Market

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The high voltage of electricity supplied by Ikeja Electric has been blamed for the fire incident that occurred on Sunday at a popular plank market in Ketu, Lagos.

According to the Director-General/CEO of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Mr Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, the power surge that day was responsible for the unfortunate incident.

The inferno, he said, led to the loss of properties worth tens of millions of Naira. However, he assured the traders that the state government will do everything within its powers to support them.

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Speaking during a post-disaster assessment on Tuesday, the LASEMA chief said efforts would be made to relocate the traders to some newly constructed shops in the market.

Business Post recalled that about 250 traders at the Ifelodun Ketu Demurin Plank Market lost their livelihoods and goods last Sunday to the fire.

Fortunately, no life was lost and this was attributed to the quick appearance of LASEMA’s first responders.

“From our preliminary investigation, we discovered that the fire was caused by a power surge and other associated factors.

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“During the dry season, planks are highly flammable, so also the chemicals used in processing the planks and so traders should be conscious of this,” Mr Oke-Osanyintolu said during the visit.

Speaking further, he said, “Government will also equip the market with safety equipment such as fire hydrants to protect lives and properties.”

However, he urged them to be more conscious of the materials they use especially during the dry season to avoid fire outbreak.

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In his remarks, the chairman of the plank sellers at the market, Mr Aliyu Bello, pleaded with the state government to allocate the newly built shops to forestall fire outbreaks.

He assured the state government that his members would take every necessary step to prevent a future occurrence at the market and adhere strictly to safety protocols. Mr Bello thanked the LASEMA boss for the visit.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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EFCC Goes After Car Dealers, Real Estate Agents, Others

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EFCC Real Estate Agents

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Abdularasheed Bawa, has hinted that a searchlight will be beamed on car dealers, jewellery sellers, real estate agents and others.

The anti-money laundering agency, while addressing newsmen in Abuja on Thursday, disclosed that evidence has shown that these set of people use proceeds of corruption for their business transactions.

He said the EFCC was working on a number of proactive strategies including a special control unit against money laundering, established particularly to address non-designated financial institutions including car dealers, real estate, jewellery dealers, among others.

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Mr Bawa said that he was confident that when the unit is fully established, corruption will significantly decline in the country.

He added that the agency was equally working towards the development of a biometric ownership database to address money laundering.

According to him, most proceeds of crime are laundered through real estate and have become a huge challenge, giving examples of property acquired especially in Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt where billions of naira were laundered through this means.

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He, however, declined to disclose actual perpetrators or the properties involved but revealed that since his assumption, a number of recoveries have been made including N6 billion, $161 million, £13,000, €1,730, among others.

He further said internet fraudsters numbering 1,502 have also been apprehended between January and June 2021, noting that efforts were underway to file about 800 of them.

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Mr Bawa was at the Presidential Villa yesterday to clarify the specific Minister involved in the laundering of about $37 million into real estate to which he referred in his earlier statement.

He said the matter was an old case involving a former Minister of Petroleum, Ms Allison Diezani Madueke.

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KedCo Warns Customers Against Meter Bypass

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Against Meter Bypass

By Adedapo Adesanya

The management of Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO) has cautioned customers in its franchise areas against meter bypass as it intensifies efforts in meter installation.

According to a statement by KEDCO’s Head of Corporate Communications, Mr Ibrahim Sani Shawai, “the warning had become necessary as a way of ensuring that renewed efforts at speeding up metering are not sabotaged.

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“Anyone caught bypassing our meters would not be spared as we will go all out within the provisions of the law of the land to ensure that violators are made to pay penalty after prosecution.

“We are speeding up processes to ensure that 87,747 meters are installed by the end of the month under the zero phase.

“We have met with all vendors and mandated them to increase manpower to ensure speedy deployment and installation of meters to customers.

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“We appeal to our numerous customers to give vendors the necessary cooperation to ensure that estimated billing system is brought to an end in KEDCO franchise within the shortest time possible.”

The distribution company had recently warned customers against meter apathy as it observed that some customers were deliberately refusing to get metered, which it considers unacceptable.

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KEDCO is one of the major Nigerian electricity distribution companies. KEDCO operates in the northwestern geopolitical zone of Nigeria and generates, distributes and markets electricity in three states. It covers the franchise states of Kano, Katsina and Jigawa.

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Navy Seizes 251 Bags of Smuggled Rice in Akwa Ibom

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251 bags of smuggled rice

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Nigerian Navy, Forward Operating Base (FOB), Ibaka, Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom has impounded 251 bags of rice smuggled through the waterways.

The Commanding Officer of FOB, Navy Captain Suleiman Abdullahi, disclosed this in Ibaka on Thursday when he handed over the bags of contrabands to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

He said that the 251 bags of rice were seized from smugglers on June 15 during routine patrol operations by the unit, explaining that the suspects abandoned the rice and the boat and fled on sighting the naval patrol team, emphasising that the Base would not relent in putting an end to illegalities on the Akwa Ibom waterways.

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“What you are witnessing here today is the handover of 251 bags of rice suspected to be smuggled into the Nigerian maritime border.

“By the directive of the Flag Officer, Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral Sanusi Ibrahim, we have zero tolerance for smuggling.

“By the directive, we have carried out intensive patrol and on June 15, 2021, we seized one wooden boat and 251 bags of smuggled rice.

“On sighting the patrol team, the smugglers abandoned the rice inside the boat and flee to escape arrest.

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This is an indication of their awareness of the crime perpetrated by these suspects for them to have abandoned their boat and flee,” Mr Abdullahi said.

The commanding officer warned smugglers to relocate out of the Nigerian maritime borders, stressing that it would not be business as usual for them.

He urged them to desist from smuggling and other illegal businesses, but they should engage in legitimate endeavours.

“I will like to use this opportunity to warn those maritime criminals that it is not going to be business as usual.

“That they should desist from their criminal ways and engage in genuine business, otherwise the long arm of the law will catch up on them,” he said.

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Receiving the 251 bags of rice on behalf of the customs, the Comptroller of Sector 1, Port Harcourt, Mr Shehu Abubakar, said the agency would do everything possible to stop smuggling in the country.

Mr Abubakar, who was represented by the Superintendent of Customs, Border Drill Patrol Team, Oron Axis, Mr Mustapha Ahmed, warned smugglers to desist from the illegal trade, stressing that the organisation would continue to checkmate all economic sabotage in the country.

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