The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq has pledged that the federal government will provide needed support for Next Cash and Carry supermarket towards its resuscitation.
Umar Farouq made the pledge when she visited the building to ascertain the extent of damage at the facility in Abuja on Wednesday.
At site of the inferno Umar Farouq described the losses of the popular shopping complex as catastrophic and colossal.
“This is a very unfortunate incident. It is catastrophic and a loss not just to the management of this company but to the government and the country at large.
“Immediately the fire started, we deployed the National Emergency Management Agency NEMA together with other sister agencies to come and assist in rescue operations. As you can see, the extent of damage cannot be quantified. The government offers its deepest sympathy to the management and team of Cash and Carry and we will also come in as a government to see how we can support this organization”.
While empathizing with the shop management, Umar Farouq commended Nigerians for their support in trying to salvage some items. She also called for caution as more outbreaks will be expected in the harmattan season.
“ It is also critically important that an establishment like this or any other commercial or public building should put in place necessary arrangements to prevent disasters like this and also update their fire prevention drills”, the minister said.
On his part, the General Manager of Next Cash and Carry, Mr Neil Pape said the cost and quantity of goods lost in the unfortunate fire outbreak,was yet to be evaluated.
He however sought government’s support as they begin rebuilding the business premise.
Pape also noted that no staff had lost his or her job in the organization following the development.
“The losses of the building are still under investigation and it is huge. As soon as we have the total amount lost and we get the records of all the stock in our business, we will give you a feedback in a press release.
“This is devastating because it happened on Sunday. We have had all manner of high profile persons coming in to assist and see what happened. We will need the support of the government as we streamline plans to open a new store”.
Next Cash And Carry went up in flames on the eve of Boxing Day.