…Launches N2bn Relief Fund For Victims

…To Meets President Buhari On The Matter

The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has set up a high-profile committee to investigate the remote and immediate cause of the Sunday morning explosions that ripped through Abule Ado and Ado Soba towns in Amuwo Odofin area of the state, which left in its wake a large-scale destruction.

Leading his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, and members of the State Executive Council, SEC, to the scene of the explosion on Monday, to commiserate with victims of the unfortunate incident, and take stock of assets and lives lost to the incident,  Sanwo-Olu, who described the incident as “a disturbing development”, constituted a fact-finding committee to immediately launch an investigation into the remote cause of the explosion.

The committee, under the chairmanship of Dr Hamzat and the state Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr. Omotayo Bamgbose-Martins, has 14 days to submit its findings.

The governor also announced a N2 billion Emergency Relief Fund for the victims of the explosion, stating that the state government would immediately release N250 million into the Funds to provide instant relief for those affected by the explosion.

While there have been conflicting reports in the media as to the cause of the early morning blast, Governor Sanwo-Olu appealed to members of the public to await the outcome of the committee’s findings, cautioning against sharing unverified and unconfirmed information that could create unnecessary panic.

Promising that his administration would get to the root of the incident, Sanwo-Olu said that recommendations from the committee would be implemented to the letter to forestall future re-occurrence of the incident.

He said, “On behalf of the government, I commiserate with families that lost their loved ones, students that lost their teachers and everyone in this neighbourhood who lost their means of livelihood. My visit to the scene of the explosion this morning is not to apportion blame for the sad incident.

“We want to first express condolences to the families of our citizens that have lost their lives, and all our citizens that have their properties and good destroyed extensively. I confess I have never seen any destruction of this magnitude before in the state. It is rather unfortunate.

“As a responsible government, we are immediately setting up a fact-finding mission as to the remote cause of this incident. We are setting up a panel that will start work from today and will need to give us a report in the next two weeks. It is an inter-governmental and multi-sectoral committee that will be headed by the Deputy Governor and Commissioner for Special Duties as co-chairman.”

The governor named other members of the committee to include: the state Commissioner for Education, her counterparts in the Finance, Physical Planning, and Environment ministries, Permanent Secretaries of the Ministries of Health, Works and Infrastructure, the state Commissioner of Police, and the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Security.

Others members of the fact finding committee are: the Chairman of Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area, representatives of Community Development Associations, CDAs and Community Development Committees, CDC, representative of Bethlehem Girls College, representatives of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, the National Emergency Management Authority, NEMA, and representative of the host community.

Describing the level destruction in Abule Ado and Ado Soba as “monumental”, Sanwo-Olu said that the resources to be appropriated in helping the victims to rebuild their lives were beyond what a single government could undertake on its own.

He said, “The process of rebuilding this place is beyond what the government, either at the national level or state, can undertake on its own. Given the level of destruction, I am immediately setting up what I have called an Abule Ado/Ado Soba Emergency Relief Fund. It is a N2 billion relief fund and the state government will immediately be putting N250 million in that fund. Three banks have opened accounts for the Fund.

“Setting up this Fund is to give everybody the opportunity to be part of rebuilding this place and to be able to donate into it. The utilisation of funds, which will be headed by the Deputy Governor, will also be part of the responsibility that the fact-finding committee will be saddled with. To show our commitment to helping the victims recover, we have three bank account numbers already.

“Polaris Bank with the account number 4030017510, and name Abule Ado Emergency Relief Fund. Also, Zenith Bank, with the same account name with account number 1017184516 and Guaranty Trust Bank, GTB, with account number 0568615688. Well-meaning Nigerians and corporate organisations that wish to support us on this journey have any of these three banks to donate.”

Sanwo-Olu added that the relief funds would assist the Lagos Government to offset the victims’ medical bills and re-settle displaced people before rebuilding activities start.

The governor also said that he would be meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari later on Monday to brief him on the incident, stressing that Lagos required the cooperation and support of the Federal Government in dealing with the situation, just as he ordered the Lagos State Waste Management Authority, LAWMA, to commence immediate clean-up of the explosion site.

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