10 January 2013

Nigeria: Fire Guts Alaafin's Palace

Photo: Shola Oyeles/Vanguard
Scene of the fire accident at Alaafin Palace,

Palace workers in Oyo are still trying to unearth an inferno that gutted parts of the palace of the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi.

The fire was said to have started around 6.am raging through 21 rooms and four apartments which either got destroyed or were completely burnt to ashes.

A source in the palace however claimed that the early morning fire was caused by electrical surge in one of the rooms razed.

Aside some apartments with artefacts gutted by the inferno, three apartments belonging to the three of the Alaafin's wives were among the 21 rooms affected.

Also affected were the Ile Ori, Ile Ifa with artefacts in them.

Though no life was lost and nobody sustained injuries, the wives (Ayabas) including Princess Folasade (Iyaa Meta), Princess Rukayat, and Princess Abibat were greatly affected as they lost virtually all their valuables.

Each of the apartments of the Ayabas contained about five rooms.

According to the Alaafin's Media Assistant, Alhaji Azeez Fehintola, who spoke with THISDAY, "the extent of damage by the fire goes beyond my imagination. Immediately I got to the palace and saw the extent of the damage done by this early morning conflagration, I could not but break down in tears.

"The fire-fighters came at some minutes past seven and battled it till it was finally put out. Every part of the affected apartments were completely razed. It was a really sad day for the Ayabas because many of their belongings were destroyed. They keep their monies in the palace. Plasma television, jewellery, clothes, bags and many other valuables yet to be ascertained.

Fire incidents have been on the rise in the last few months across Nigeria. Some of the notable ones include that of the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC; and the hilltop mansion of former president Olusegun Obasanjo.

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