Following reports of a fire outbreak at the Presidential Villa on Saturday night, the presidency has allayed fears that the seat of power went up in flames.
According to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, there was no fire within the perimeter walls of the State House as speculated by the reports.
He said there was only a bush fire behind the fence of the state house and that no property or structure was gutted as firefighters contained it immediately.
Shehu said there were suspicions that the incident must have been ignited by cigarette stub light which was probably dropped from the expressway near the Villa. However, he noted that investigations were ongoing.
The statement read:
“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 inferno 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 inferno, 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.”