The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) yesterday commiserated with the 17 shop owners at the Iponri market affected by the fire incident that occurred in the late hours of Tuesday.
The REA has promised to provide the necessary support to the affected traders.
The shops were part of those powered by a solar system under the REA Energizing Economies Initiative (EEI), which is being undertaken by the Iponri Market Energy Solutions Limited (IMESL).
Although the exact cause of the fire remained unknown, the agency said it has been confirmed that the fire was not caused by the clean solar system powering many shops within the Iponri market.
As a result of the fire, meters and cable networks across some of the affected shops already connected to the Energizing Economies solar powered system were destroyed. According to the IMESL representative, Ademola Adeshina, IMESL had to shut down the solar system in order to conduct a comprehensive asset and systems assessment.
“We are also working hard to restore electricity to the market, in coordination with the Iponri Market Association,” Adeshina stated.
The federal government, through the REA, is implementing the EEI to provide clean, safe and reliable electricity to economic clusters across Nigeria, in collaboration with private sector developers.
Iponri Market is one of many phase 1 markets benefiting from this initiative.
The REA Managing Director, Damilola Ogunbiyi, said the fire incident would not deter the agency’s objective to electrify over 80,000 shops, and empower over 340,000 micro, small and medium size enterprises (MSMEs) across the country.
“This unfortunate incident will not deter EEI’s objective to also create over 2,500 jobs with the initial 16 economic clusters, while serving over 18 million Nigerians. It is a stark reminder that safe electricity installations and practices are paramount. It is a requirement on all EEI projects and a measure we take very seriously,” Ogunbiyi stated.