Fire engulfed the major market in Bama Local Government Area of Borno State.
The Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, on Monday directed the State’s Ministry of Finance to immediately release N100 million for disbursement to traders whose stalls and property were destroyed after the wild fire incidents occurred in a major market in Bama township, Bama Local Government Area of Borno State, some weeks ago.
The Governor gave the directive shortly after a committee, set up to assess the extent of damages on the market fires, submitted its report at the Government House in Maiduguri, on Monday.
The Committee chairman, Usman Shuwa, had told the Governor that N495 million naira worth of property were lost based on accounts by victims even though there were fears that some may have given false accounts of their losses in cases where there were no ruins for analysts to verify their claims.
He added that about 1,550 traders were affected while 700 units of property belonging to traders as well as the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) were torched.
Governor Shettima instantly asked his deputy and commissioners present at the presentation to deliberate and propose a percentage of the total amount for immediate approval so that traders could quickly return to their businesses.
The deputy and commissioners proposed N100 million, about 20 per cent of the total, saying that numerouscompensations had been paid by the government over natural disasters and security challenges, and maintaining that payment of N100m is unprecedented in the state’s history.
Governor Shettima gave anticipatory approval as provided by law pending written ratification at a formal executive council meeting. Mr. Shettima instantly constituted a disbursement committee under the chairmanship of the Shehu of Bama with the fact finding committee chairman as his deputy while retaining other members. He directed that all payments be made to victims by cheques saying no cash payment should be made so as to guarantee transparency.
The Governor said the time for talking was over as citizens were going through so many challenges and hence Government needed to come to their aides. He said Bama is one Borno’s biggest towns and that absence of economic activities there could adversely affect not only residents but the state’s economy.
Mr. Shettima commended the committee for doing a thorough job and for completing their assignment in good time. He spoke about the need for the victims to count on the support of the government as measures were continually being adopted to improve their living standards.
Some weeks ago, there had been a fire situation where stalls and goods in Bama market were destroyed. This prompted Governor Shettima to undertake an assessment visit, where he presented some food items to victims before setting up an assessment committee that submitted its report on Monday.