A fire broke out at the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) headquarters on Tuesday morning, affecting some of its most important departments.
The fire began at around 9 a.m. and severely damaged the Audit, Commercial, and Corporate Communications departments in addition to the agency’s reception area.
It took the intervention of the Lagos State Fire Service to quench the fire.
The federal government is currently auditing the staff in the agency, and there has been speculation that some FAAN employees may be implicated.
It has also been reported that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) stormed the agency on Monday for undisclosed reasons.
The Audit department, which was razed by the fire, was at the center of a scandal in 2016 in which a level-six officer, Christy Olabode, was arrested for manipulating furniture allowances between 2013 and 2015.
An FAAN staff who spoke to our correspondent claimed that the fire began with an electric spark in the Corporate Communications department. Another source, however, alleged that it began in the Audit department.
Speaking on the incident, Lagos State Commissioner of Police Fatai Owoseni, who stormed the building at 10:55 a.m., said that the immediate cause of the fire could not yet be ascertained, adding that investigations into the incident have already commenced.
“The fire service responded to the distress call and ensured that the fire was properly prevented from spreading,” Mr. Owoseni said. “Some of the offices were affected and the FAAN management is already making arrangements to relocate some of the departments to other areas that were not affected by the fire.
“The police are there to prevent casualty and mutiny. The police in conjunction with FAAN’s security have taken control of security. We are still on the cause of the fire, it is still fresh, but the reasons behind the fire incident will soon be out with reports from several agencies.”
The Commissioner of Police, Airports Command, Besan Gwana, explained that his men on patrol duty spotted smoke that was coming out from the rooftop of the building and immediately called the Lagos State Fire Service.
Also at the scene was the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Capt. Muhtar Usman, and the Director of Consumer Protection Directorate, Adamu Abdullahi.
The outbreak of fires at public buildings is a common phenomenon in Nigeria, dating back especially to the 1980s and 1990s. Inquiries launched to determine the cause of fire were also left inconclusive or never made public when concluded.