Former Oyo State Commissioner for Works and Transport, Prof. Raphael Afonja AbdulRahman, has expressed his deep concerns regarding a devastating fire incident at Sabo, Ogbomoso which resulted in the destruction of three lock shops.
Demonstrating his commitment to the community, Prof. Afonja took a significant steps on Tuesday sponsoring the reconstruction of the affected shops.
MOUTHPIECE NGR recalls that the tragic event unfolded Monday midnight destroying properties worth of millions.
Prof. Afonja, who received an urgent call at 3:00am about the fire at incident quickly swift into action for a rescue mission. However, despite his immediate efforts to mobilize firefighters to the scene, the blaze had already inflicted severe damage.
While addressing journalists during an inspection tour to the site, Prof. Afonja recounted the night’s events and his prompt response to the emergency.
Afonja, who was in company of the PDP chairmanship candidate, Hon. George Ogunlade, noted that his solidarity visit is aimed to assess the situation firsthand and discuss further support for the affected shop owners.
He said: “Three shops got burnt overnight at Sabo. I was called by 3am to inform me of the fire and I quickly offered my assistance.
“I’ve already supplied them with a carpenter, woods, and roofing sheets. Reconstruction has begun. It is important to always be our brother’s keeper. Government can’t do it alone.”
Afonja, who equally commiserated with the victims said that the incident has also brought to light the challenges faced by the local fire department.
According to him, their inability to respond effectively was due to malfunctioning equipment.
He said: “The fire department claimed they could not respond because their equipment was down, and having understand their situation, I had to offer my assistance to them to be able to pay for the repair of their truck.
“We are pleading with the government to supply at least a minimum of one new fire truck to regional fire departments across the state. It is paramount that some of these regional fire offices be decentralized for them to be effective.
“This is one of the projects I was pushing to get done when I was in office. The second project was to install fire hydrants in all major markets across the states. Look at what happened at Akesan Market in Oyo Town. Millions of properties were destroyed, and money was burnt.
“I was the commissioner at that time. People got agitated because the fire truck that was just 3 minutes from the market couldn’t respond to their plight. If there were two to three fire hydrants in that market, there’s a high chance that the firefighting team would’ve been able to reduce the damages caused by the fire. However, educating the public from time to time on fire, its causes, and how to avoid it is important.”.
One of the shop owners expressed gratitude to Prof. Afonja for his swift and compassionate intervention during this challenging time.
“The speed at which Prof. Afonja responded to our distress call is truly commendable. His generosity in supplying the necessary materials for reconstruction has given us a glimmer of hope in the face of this tragedy. We are deeply grateful for his unwavering commitment to our welfare”.