Armed security comprising the police and military have been deployed around the Monday market in Maiduguri, northeastern Nigeria, as an angry mob has taken to the streets destroying political posters and other insignias of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Angry residents alleged that the fire may have been politically motivated. The Borno state governor, Babagana Zulum, visited the market at about 8 a.m. but had to leave immediately to avoid aggravating an already charged atmosphere.
Zulum, in a statewide televised broadcast, called for calm and announced that an emergency relief of one billion naira would be provided to support the victims, pending assessment of the incident.
The governor’s spokesman, Isa Gusau, said the deployment of armed forces to the market was meant “to secure the area to prevent the breakdown of law and order.”
In his televised broadcast, Zulum said, “We woke today to a very sad and unfortunate fire disaster at the Maiduguri Monday market. This is very unfortunate, but we believe that Allah decrees this. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raajiun.”
He said he felt ‘pained’ by the incident even as he acknowledged “how painful it is for anyone to work hard over the years to build his or her business but end up losing that investment in seconds.”
The governor said he has also set up an assessment committee that will comprise representatives of the victims to speedily assess damages and take a comprehensive list of those affected and their losses.
“I will also be holding meetings with the leadership of the market and representatives of victims,” he noted.
“I will see Mr President and seek presidential intervention to get support for victims. We will also reach out to other humanitarian establishments to seek help.”
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