The Nigerian presidency has dismissed media reports that a section of the presidential villa was gutted by fire on Saturday night, March 6.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, in a statement released on March 7, said there was no fire within the perimeter walls of the State House.
Garba explained that there was indeed a bush fire behind the fence of the ‘Villa’ Saturday night but the said inferno did not enter the premises of the State House, as it was effectively contained by firefighters.
The presidential spokesman said an investigation has commenced to unravel the cause of the fire but added that initial suspicion suggested cigarette stub light, which might have been dropped in the bush from the nearby express.
“People in the country and even abroad have been expressing concerns over reports of a fire incident in Aso Rock Villa, the seat of the Nigerian government.
I would like to clarify that there was no fire inside the Presidential Villa.
In the evening of Saturday, March 6, a fire broke out burning shrubs between the outer wire fence and walls surrounding the Villa, precisely in the area between the Villa and the Barracks, towards Asokoro.
The fire, as being speculated, might have started from a passerby dropping a burning cigarette. The Federal Fire Service will ascertain the reason for it when they complete their investigation.
It suffices to say that this bush fire, which started and ended outside the perimeter walls of the Villa, was seamlessly contained by fire stations of the State House and the one nearby from the Federal Fire Service. No loss of life, no loss whatsoever to building and property was recorded.
We thank well-meaning Nigerians for expressed concerns,” the statement read.