Job losses loom at Ebeano Supermarket after fire incident

MORE than 50 workers of Prince Ebeano Supermarket in Lokogoma, Abuja, are at the risk of losing their jobs after a nine-year-old girl set the building on fire.

A source in Ebeano Supermarket disclosed to The ICIR that more than 50 workers could lose their jobs because they could no longer be productive for the supermarket.

He said few days after the fire incident, some of the workers would come to the supermarket hoping to know their fate .

“Sometimes, they just come here and sit down, there is nothing for them to do. With the way it is going, I think they (Ebeano Supermarket) would tell them go,” he told The ICIR.

However, he noted that there was another ongoing building owned by Ebeano Supermarket in Abuja, and the workers could be transferred there if it was completed on time.

Apart from workers at Ebeano Supermarket, some shop owners inside the supermarket have also lost their means of livelihood.

A local business owner in Lokogoma, who identified herself as Chika, told The ICIR that there were about three other shop owners inside Ebeano Supermarket.

“There are three shops inside Ebeano, the shops do not belong to Ebeano, but they rented spaces to sell their goods.

” Inside the supermarket, there’s one shop that sells medicine, there is another one that sells snacks, they are not owned by Ebeano but they rented the spaces,” Chika told The ICIR.

How nine-year-old girl turned billions into ashes 

On Saturday July 17, Prince Ebeano Supermarket was set on fire along with goods worth billions of naira.

Although the Fire Service rushed to the scene, little or nothing was saved from the raging fire that evening.

A viral CCTV footage showed how a nine-year-old girl in black polo and trouser walk to the section of the supermarket that contained flammable items, among which were gas cylinders, lighters and kitchen equipment.

She picked up the lighter, avoided being seen, lit fire on an item in the store and exited the scene as the fire began to burn.

Joanne Ogar arrested for setting fire on Prince Ebeano Supermarket
PhotoCredit: CCTV footage/Social media

The young girl, who was later identified as Joanne Ogar, said she visited the supermarket in the company of her mother and sister.

During interrogation by the police, Ogar said she left her mother and sister at the drink section of the supermarket.

The Police officer interrogating her asked if her mum sent her, but she answered in the negative.

Remnants of Ebeano Supermarket

Usually, the Lokogoma Road leading to the Apo area in Abuja was always congested by cars visiting or leaving the Ebeano Supermarket.

But when The ICIR visited Lokogoma three weeks after the fire incident, the busy road had become scanty of cars.

Burnt Prince Ebeano Supermarket Lokogoma, Abuja.
PhotoCredit: The ICIR

It was the one-stop shop for residents of Abuja to purchase groceries and other household items.

After the incident, the building has become quiet, marked by black fire flames.

Burnt Prince Ebeano Supermarket Lokogoma, Abuja.
PhotoCredit: The ICIR

The signpost on the building wall that carried the supermarket’s name was also partly burnt, making it difficult for anyone to identify the building.

Ebeano Supermarket is now cordoned off by security officials.

Only two security officials and a foreign man were seen on the premises of the supermarket.

The ICIR gathered that the foreigner was an engineer who had come to assess and evaluate the building for demolition.

Burnt Prince Ebeano Supermarket Lokogoma, Abuja.
PhotoCredit: The ICIR

Nigerians have raised questions on social media over the intention of the nine-year-old and the failure of Ebeano Supermarket to have effective smoke detectors and other precautionary measures.






     

     

    Beyond the cause of the fire, there have also been questions about the safety precautions at the supermarket.

    Even though the fire generated smoke and burnt gradually before it spread across other supermarket sections, there were questions about whether the supermarket did not have a smoke detector that would sound an alarm for appropriate action.

    When The ICIR contacted Ebeano Supermarket, an assistant manager who refused to give his name said all enquiries should be directed to the Police.

    The FCT Police Public Relations Officer Mariam Yusuf told The ICIR that questions concerning the case should be directed to the Force Headquarters.

    Lukman Abolade is an Investigative reporter with The ICIR. Reach out to him via [email protected], on twitter @AboladeLAA and FB @Correction94

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