In the space of 10 days, there have been three major fire incidents in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Corporate Affairs Commission and Independent National Electoral Commission have all been gutted by fire.
While these government offices have nothing in common, the close timing of the fire incidents have raised concerns in the public space.
On April 8, fire broke out at the Treasury House, a building housing the AGF’s office and exactly a week after there was another fire outbreak at the headquarters of the Corporate Affairs Commission.
However, it was the fire incident that happened at the Independent National Electoral Commission’s office in Abuja that pushed Nigerians into raising questions.
While many have been linking the fire incidents to a ploy by some government officials to embezzle funds donated to the country to tackle the outbreak of Coronavirus, others have claimed that the fire incidents were deliberately caused to hide some top secrets by persons in high positions in the country.
Indeed more than a few Nigerians have refused to accept that the fire outbreaks were caused by natural events – without the input of any individual.
Sharing their views across various social media platforms, Nigerians said they could not trust government officials especially going by antecedents of the past where such incidents were deliberately orchestrated to cover up corrupt and criminal acts.
A Twitter user with the handle @collinsdike77 while reacting to the rising fire incidents in Abuja, said, “Nigerian Government are suspects, in a bid to cover up their shady deals they have set fire in three of the national offices, the first was the finance headquarter, the second was the Corporate Affairs Commission and the third is the INEC office.”
@realOlaudah, another Twitter user, questioned the Nigerian Government’s claims of fighting corruption.
The user said, “First was the Treasury House, then CAC, now INEC building, all within the last 10 days in the same Abuja.
“Who's next in this season of arson? Why are they burning these places in this 'anti-corruption' regime? Your guess is as good as mine. We watch.”
Also joining the debate, rights activist, Joe Okei-Odumakin, questioned what could be causing the fire incidents in Abuja especially at this time of lockdown in the country.
She said, “Money will be used to put out the fire while billions will also be needed to repair the burnt edifice.”
The Peoples Democratic Party, Nigeria’s main opposition party, in a statement, said the were deeply worried and hopes that this spate of fire outbreaks was not a coordinated design by sinister elements against demands for due process and accountability in the country.
The party said, “The PDP notes that our nation can no longer afford any more fire incident in our key institutions as such will be distressing to the polity, which is already under pressure occasioned by dwindling economy and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
One Twitter user, @ayemojubar, said the fire outbreaks were not mere coincidence.
He said, “BREAKING: INEC Nigeria office in Abuja is also on fire. This is beyond just a coincidence.”
Also stating that the fire incidents in Abuja were not ordinary, activist Deji Adeyanju said, “Fire guts INEC office in Abuja. The rate at which they are going, they will burn down Abuja.”
Ikpe Nyong, another user of the popular social networking platform, said, “First it was Accountant-General's office, after that Corporate Affairs Commission and now @inecnigeria headquarters Abuja.
“This government of @MBuhari be using fire to cover up their illicit, evil, mischievous and sinful deeds.”