Following inferno that gutted some high rise buildings housing, shops and residential homes at the Balogun market on Tuesday, Lagos State government has begun enumeration of the affected traders at Martins Street, Lagos.
The Director General Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, Dr. Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, made the disclosure in an interview with newsmen in Lagos on Thursday.
He said the state government had also embarked on the integrity test of all the structures in Lagos market to avoid disaster.
According to him, the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, while at the site on Wednesday, sympathised with the traders on their losses, highlighting government’s plans to carry out proper enumeration of the traders.
He said that the enumeration would assist them in their businesses, while those property owners, who suffered losses as a result of the fire would be given financial assistance.
Oke-Osanyintolu said that the Island was dominated by buildings that were over a century old.
“Gov. Sanwo-Olu also stated on Wednesday that integrity tests will be conducted on all the buildings during the regeneration exercise to ascertain their integrity.
“The very weak building detected in the course of conducting the tests, would be pulled down to further reduce chances of disasters of such great magnitude in the state.
“I enjoin Lagos resident and traders not to overbuild commercial areas and respect the physical planning laws of the state regarding provision of roads, setbacks and parking spaces for vehicles and allowances for firefighting appliances to penetrate the area in case of a fire incident.
“I also assured residents that there is no need to panic, nor hesitate to contact the relevant authorities in the event of any form of emergency/disaster through the State emergency toll free line 767 or 112,” Oke-Osanyintolu said.
He explained that goods worth millions of naira were destroyed as a result of the inferno.
The director general said that incident of fire outbreak was on the high side due to the inability of property and shop owners to put necessary precautionary measures in place to avoid incidents that could have disastrous consequences.
He warned against storage of highly inflammable materials such as petrol, diesel, kerosene to avoid disaster.
He further explained that the fire burnt non-stop for more 48 hours despite all efforts to put it out by the LASEMA Response Team, Lagos State Fire Service, UBA fire crew, Federal fire crew, Union Bank Sky lift fire truck and other emergency responders.
Oke-Osanyintolu sought the support of residents, especially shop owners for adequate protection of lives and property, and warned everyone to desist from storing generators in their penthouses or roof tops as well as combustible materials for safety of lives and property.
He said that government had made provision for fire hydrants in the past at Idumota and its environs, which was destroyed by the residents in that area.
Oke-Osanyintolu, therefore, advised everyone to desist from such heinous act and also install fire extinguishers in their various homes, offices and shops to forestall a future re-occurrence.
Also, the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr Rotimi Ogunleye, said that the two buildings at No 41 and 45 would undergo integrity test to confirm if they were habitable or not.
The result of the integrity test would determine the next line of action, adding that government was passionate about the safety of the citizens.
Also speaking, the General Manager, Lagos State Building Control Agency, LASBCA, Mrs Abiola Kosegbe, said that a total of 700 buildings had been identified as distressed.
Kosegbe said that before such buildings would be pulled down the government would give notice to the owner of property after confirming the structure stability of the building by Lagos State Material Testing Laboratory.
She said that if any of the buildings failed integrity test then LASBCA would embark on legal issues by informing the owner of the buildings and publish in newspaper before final demotion of such buildings.
The Chairman Lagos State Safety Commission, Mr Lanre Omojola, said that his commission would carry out Post Fire Risk Assessment, to enable them identify the cause of the fire.
Omojola said that risk assessment would be carried out with all traders and residents of the affected areas