Our attention has been drawn to the above titled article published in a national news medium and we wish to state as follows:
1. Early yesterday, a private company that supplies electricity to some shops in Umuehilegbu Industrial Market, aka Bakassi Line, and Shoe Plaza in Aba was reportedly adding fuel to their power generating set and the equipment caught fire.
2. While making efforts to put out the fire, those around the area called in the state fire service for support. But when the men of the fire service moved close to the area affected by the fire, they were attacked by hoodlums who attempted to destroy the fire truck thereby preventing the vehicle from getting to the scene of the fire incident for yet to be determined reasons.
3. The attacked fire truck never got to its destination as the driver and other firemen on the service were badly injured with one still in critical condition after being rescued by a good Samaritan from the hoodlums who also demobilized the vehicle.
4 Those at the scene of the fire ultimately put out the fire using fire extinguishers and other improvised fire fighting techniques even as security agencies were mobilized to the location to protect the market, rescue the remaining firemen, and tow the fire truck to safety.
5. Aside the property housing the generator of the private power supply company, no single shop in the industrial market was affected by the fire.
6. Ariaria International Market is different from Umuehilegbu Industrial Market even though located in contiguous locations
7. Around the same area, there is power supply from EEDC and the Ariaria Independent Power Company established by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) of the Federal Government. It was some traders that chose to pull together and bring in the private company that uses generators to supply power to some shops in the market.
8. Fourteen (14) of the suspected hoodlums who were arrested at the scene of the incident were arraigned in a magistrate court today, granted bail and the matter adjourned.
9. It is worthy of emphasis to state that none of the more than 30,000 shops in Ariaria International market was affected by the fire.
10. While the state government directed the immediate closure of the Umuehilegbu Industrial Market as a precautionary measure, Ariaria International Market remains open without interruption.
11. In addition to the suspension of the executive committee of the affected market, government wishes to direct an immediate cessation of the activities of the private power company pending full investigation by security agencies.
Chief John Okiyi Kalu
Honorable Commissioner for Information