NEXT Cash and Carry, a popular shopping mall, located in Jahi, Abuja, was gutted by fire on Sunday.
Firefighters and security operatives arrived at the scene in a bid to put out the fire and restore calm. Workers and shoppers were thrown in a state of confusion as none knew the cause of the fire incident which started at about 10.00 am.
Arise TV showed images of the Police arresting young men allegedly trying to loot the mall.
In an interview with The ICIR, a staff member of the mall, who asked to remain anonymous, said the reason for the fire had not been traced. She also couldn’t confirm if there were any casualties from the incident, yet.
“I don’t know how it started. Some are saying it started from a Christmas light. Nobody knows yet. I don’t know if anybody is trapped in there. Some of my colleagues that were inside are out now, but I don’t know about other sections,” she said.
The ICIR also contacted the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command on the incident.
Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Command Josephine Adeh said they had not yet traced the cause of the fire or casualties from the outbreak as efforts were still being made to put out the fire.
“We are trying to put out the fire. We are yet to confirm what really happened,” she said.
In July, another popular mall in Abuja, Ebeano Supermarket, had been razed in a fire incident that destroyed goods worth billions of naira.
A viral CCTV footage revealed that the fire was started by a child who was later identified as Joanne Ogar.
Ogar, who was nine years old at the time of the incident, had set a portion of the store where flammables were displayed for sale on fire and was seen walking briskly out of the scene as the fire began to spread.
During interrogations by the Police, Ogar said she was not sent by anyone to carry out the act, but had only been shopping at the mall with her mother and sister.