A portion of the sprawling ancient palace of the Oyo Monarch, the Alaafin, Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi, was on Wednesday gutted by an early morning fire.
The inferno, which affected 21 rooms in the palace, was reportedly caused by an electrical surge.
Three separate apartments, containing about five rooms each and belonging to three of the monarch’s wives, were among the affected rooms.
Also among the 21 rooms were Ile Ori, Ile Ifa where some artifacts were kept.
No lives were lost in the incident, but the three wives- Princess Folasade (Iyaa Meta), Princess Rukayat, and Princess Abibat- lost virtually all their valuables to the fire.
The media assistant to the Oyo Monarch, Azeez Fehintola, revealed that the palace was badly damaged.
“Immediately I got here and saw the extent of the damage done to the palace by this early morning conflagration, I could not but break down into tears,” he said.
Mr. Fehintola further explained that the fire, which started around 6 a.m. could not be contained until after about three hours when it had wrecked havoc.
“The fire-fighters came at some minutes past seven and battled it till it was finally put out. Every part of the affected apartments were completely razed.
“It was really a sad day for the ayabas (King’s wives) because many of their property were destroyed. They keep their monies in the palace, plasma television, jewellery, clothes, bags and many other valuables yet to be ascertained,” the aide said.
Fire incidents have been on the rise in the last few months across Nigeria. Some of the notable ones include that of the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC; and the hilltop mansion of former president Olusegun Obasanjo.