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FCT Minister Assures On Helping NEXT Supermarket Regain Footing

Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello, Minis­ter of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has promised to sup­port NEXT Cash and Carry supermarket, ensuring that it recovers stronger than it was before the Boxing Day fire that destroyed it.

Next Cash and Carry, one of Abuja’s biggest shopping malls, was gutted by fire on Sunday morning.

Bello, speaking during an on-the-spot evaluation of the giant shopping mall, said the fire was something that rocked the city hard on Boxing Day, since it is a major investment that gener­ates many jobs in the city.

He said while the inferno was a terrible occurrence, “by God’s grace, no lives were lost, and a large portion of the prem­ises where bulk commodities are housed in warehouses was saved.”

According to him, “This particular incident brought out what is good about us as residents, everybody united and supported them.

“I really sympathise with NEXT, particularly be­cause during the heat of the COVID-19, NEXT were among the foremost companies that provided tremendous support to the FCTA, by providing pal­liative items, which we distrib­uted to vulnerable members of the community.

“Unfortunately, today they are also vulnerable, so it’s our duty in the city to rally round and protect this important in­vestment that is a generator of many jobs in the city.

“We will give them all the needed support, so that they bounce back stronger than what they were before. We look forward to seeing you back to business in the no distant fu­ture.”

He commended the manag­ers and staff of NEXT Cash and Carry for having and activating internal firefighting mecha­nism in place, which greatly helped in curtailing the inferno.

While speaking on the up­date of investigations into the remote cause of the inferno, the minister said: “The experts are checking to see what the causes are.”

Also, commenting on steps taken to prevent reoccurrence of fire outbreaks in the FCT, the minister opined that “world over, whenever there is a fire in­cident, it affords city managers and relevant agencies oppor­tunity to review existing code for built facilities, to make sure whenever fire incidences occur, the damages are minimal.

“With this fire incident, to­gether with relevant agencies, we will look at what really happened, then as time goes on additional measures will be presented.

“The whole is that as build­ings are designed and moni­tored, we will make sure that checks and balances incorpo­rated in such a way that fires are not allowed to go beyond and escape to where they be­come impossible to contain.”

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