Ajimobi raises six-member panel to probe repeated Sango plank market fire incidents   

Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi

Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, has constituted a six-member panel of inquiry to investigate the two fire incidents that gutted the Sango Igbajo Plank Market on Christmas Day and Monday, which the traders blamed on sabotage.

A statement from the Office of the Secretary to the State Government names the state’s Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary, Mr Wasiu Gbadegesin, as chairman of the panel, while the Director, Administration and Supplies in the Governor’s Office, Mr. Paul Oyekunle, will serve as secretary.

Other members are the Permanent Secretary, Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr Lekan Busari; Permanent Secretary, Land, Housing & Survey, Mr. Babatunde Ladipo; Acting Perm Secretary, Environment and Habitat, Mr. M. J. Akinlabi; and Director, Fire Services, Mr. Kareem Oyekunle.

The panel has been mandated to examine the immediate and remote causes of the fire incidents, assess the extent of damage and loss to the traders and to recommend appropriate action(s) to stem a recurrence.

It is also directed to proffer any other relevant or suitable advice to the state government that will serve the best interest of the stakeholders, while it has two weeks to submit its report.

The statement added, “Meanwhile, all Stakeholders are enjoined to either submit memoranda or make recommendations to the panel to facilitate the execution of its task.

“Everyone is implored to maintain the peace in the area as government is determined to thoroughly and decisively deal with any one either found disturbing the peace or attempting to do anything untoward at the market.”

Members of the public have been asked to submit their memoranda in eight duplicates to the secretary of the panel through the Office of the Secretary to the State Government from Tuesday to Thursday, between 8am and 4pm each day.

A government delegation had paid a condolence visit to the market on Monday, when the market leaders blamed the incident on alleged sabotage.

The fire had destroyed more than three hundred shops; saw milling equipment, vehicles and houses contiguous to the market, which is located within Sango neighbourhood. The most recent incident is about the fifth in the last five years.