The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has denied reports that miscreants looted the Next Cash and Carry Supermarket, Abuja, which went up in flames on Sunday.
The Police in its own statement said its men foiled attempts at looting.
Josephine Adeh, a Deputy Superitendent of Police (DSP) and spokeswoman for the Federal Capital Territory Command said: “Well-meaning members of the surrounding communities came out en masse and helped in evacuating goods and other valuables from the supermarket to a safe location within the area with the supervision of Police Officers of the Command who were on ground. This is contrary to the news making the rounds as there is no successful case of looting or carting away of goods from the store. The suspects who made attempts to cart away goods from the store and were promptly arrested include (1) Ali Audu aged 18 Years; (2) Yahaya Yunusa aged 20 Years; and (3) Sahabi Abubakar aged 20 Years.”
There were also video clips of alleged looters caught in the act making the rounds on social media. Another video of a huge pile of salvaged goods also appeared on some platforms.
In his statement in Abuja, Director-General of FEMA, Alhaji Abbas Idriss, said: “Immediately the agency got to the scene of the incident, security operatives cordoned the area and fire fighting began.
“There was no looting whatsoever as being speculated by some people on the social media.
“What we saw on social media was staff of Next Cash and Carry trying to salvage goods using trolleys. Nothing was taken out of the premises by looters.”
Idriss commended all responders, security agencies and the media for their prompt response to the fire incident.
“Immediately FEMA received the distress call on the fire incident, it activated all responders, including the Federal Fire Service, FCT Fire Service and FCT police Command.
“Others are the Department of State Services, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, the National Emergency Management Agency, the armed forces, Julius Berger, the NNPC, and other private corporate entities.”
According to him, the rescue effort was well coordinated, leading to the containment of the fire.
He stated that no life was lost in the incident, adding that nobody sustained any injuries.
He appealed to business owners to factor in risk element in their business plans, noting that fire engines did not get free access within the shopping mall while the fire raged.