The Edo State Government has commenced investigations into allegations of suspected arson as fire razed another market in Benin metropolis yesterday.
In a statement, Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, said the state government has commenced investigation into the fire incident in Ekiosa market, noting that the increased fire incidents in markets around Benin metropolis may bear political connotation.
According to him, “The state government has commenced investigation into the Ekiosa fire incident as we have received preliminary information indicating that the fire may have been caused by arsonists, who are bent on painting the government in bad light.
“The information we have show that the arsonists may be working on the instructions of the disbanded Edo Peoples Movements (EPM), who are shopping for avenues to discredit the Governor Obaseki-led government.
“It is also curious that when officials of the Fire Service and other stakeholders in emergency response mobilised to the site of the fire at Ekiosa market, they were attacked and chased away by the arsonists.
This is a serious offence and government will not condone the action of these persons, as anyone found culpable will be made to face the full wrath of the law.”
“Relevant stakeholders are being rallied around to carry out the investigations into the incident to establish the case of arson, even as government agencies and departments responsible for emergency response are being debriefed on what transpired when they responded to the incident,” he added.
Osagie said efforts are on to ameliorate the losses suffered by traders, noting, “We will provide support to the affected traders to enable them return to their businesses. We are mindful that these traders would have stocked wares for the festive season. The state government will ensure that they’re fully compensated.”
He reiterated the need for Edo residents to be careful and avoid habits and actions that may lead to fire outbreak in the dry season.