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NEXT Cash and Carry inferno: Humanitarian Minister visits site

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The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, has visited the site of the inferno which razed popular Next Cash and Carry shopping complex in Abuja on Boxing Day.

The Special Adviser on Media to the Minister, Nneka Ikem Anibeze revealed this in a statement on Wednesday.

CAPITAL POST learnt that the Minister visited the building to ascertain the extent of damage at the facility.

The Minister however described the losses as catastrophic and colossal.

According to the statement, Umar Farouq said, “This is a very unfortunate incident. It is catastrophic and a loss not just to the management of this company but to the government and the country at large.

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“Immediately the fire started, we deployed the National Emergency Management Agency NEMA together with other sister agencies to come and assist in rescue operations. As you can see, the extent of damage cannot be quantified.

“The government offers its deepest sympathy to the management and team of Cash and Carry and we will also come in as a government to see how we can support this organization”.

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While empathizing with the shop management, She thanked Nigerians for their support in trying to salvage some items and called for caution as more outbreaks will be expected in the harmattan season.

“It is critically important that an establishment like this or any other commercial or public building should put in place necessary arrangements to prevent disasters like this and also update their fire prevention drills” She added.

In his response, the General Manager of Next Cash and Carry, Mr Neil Pape sought government’s support for rebuilding the business premise.

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He said the losses of the building is huge and still under investigation.

“As soon as we have the total amount lost and we get the records of all the stock in our business, we will give you a feedback in a press release.

“This is devastating because it happened on Sunday. We have had all manner of high profile persons coming in to assist and see what happened. We will need the support of the government as we streamline plans to open a new store” he added.

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