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Leadership with Compassion in FCT

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By Aderonke Ogunleye-Bello

“Hello Ronke, good morning, are you aware of what happened at the Maitama Market in Kubwa yester night, read your WhatsApp messages please,” call from a friend woke me at 6am on Saturday, November 6, 2021.

Opening WhatsApp, I saw gory images of human bodies burnt beyond recognition, videos of people running helter skelter, and cries of victims. So heartbreaking!

About an hour later, I received a WhatsApp message from the Honorable Minister of State, FCT, Dr Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, asking me to make my way to the scene of the incident. Immediately, I joined my colleagues.

MAITAMA MARKET, KUBWA

The Minister, on getting to the market commenced immediate assessment of the ruins, she engaged and condoled family members of victims and some eye witnesses, On the spot, she gave an order for development control to re-organize the market, remove illegal structures and kerosene tanks placed beside electricity transformer.She asks them to stop the sale of adulterated kerosene that had led to the tanker explosion. She left the scene and made her way to the hospital where survivorswere admitted.

KUBWA GENERAL HOSPITAL
The compassionate Dr Tijjani Aliyu visited burn victims, and on getting to the hospital, unpleasant smell of fresh wounds rented the air. She went round the ward to check on fire victims which includes a baby. I watched her wiped a tear or two.

After seeing the victims, she proceeded to the mortuary where remains of dead victims were kept, we met people with sad faces, some were crying, while some rolled on the floor.

Unfortunately, Kubwa hospital do not have a burn unit. She became worried, I overheard her mutter some words like, we must do our best to support these people. We left in search of a suitable hospital for the victims.

FEDERAL MEDICAL CENTER, JABI

On arriving FMC Jabi, she went straight to the emergency unit where we met a nonchalant doctor on duty. “I am the minister of state, FCT, could you please show us your burn unit, we have some victims that we want to move to your hospital, your help will go a long way please,” the doctor looked at the minister slowly from head to toe, kept mute without uttering a word, reluctantly, she picked her phone and excused herself to make a call. Another doctor on duty saved the day by apologizing on her behalf and made it known that FMC do not have a burn unit. In a hurry, the Minister left.

NATIONAL HOSPITAL, ABUJA

On getting to the National hospital, we were received by friendly nurses and doctors on duty, willing to help, and immediately, she introduced herself and the situation, they started coordinating one another, and created bed spaces for the victims.

Calls were made and ambulances, one after the other, brought in victims from Kubwa.

Some victims were immediately wheeled to the theatre, while she received each victim and accompanied them to the prepared bedspace with assurance that all shall be well. Despite her ill health, she went all out for FCT citizens.

After the admittance of everyone, the minister left National hospital in the night. She seems so sad but fulfilled to know that victims are in safe hands. All her efforts were not in vain. We all left, sad, tired, hungry and worn out. Pheeew, what a day!

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2021

I received an sms at midday, “HMS said you should proceed to the National Hospital now” by the time I got there, the minister was already on ground to check on victims. She went round, bed by bed, engaging the patients and their caregivers. Sadly, two of them had died on Sunday morning.

Before leaving the hospital, she reiterated to Nigerians to stop selling adulterated kerosene. For proper follow up, the Minister has commissioned people to visit the hospital for daily report of the recovery process.

This is leadership with compassion. I witnessed it live and direct. I hope our leaders could emulate Dr Tijjani Aliyu.

For her, it was never about photo ops, but result, tender care and compassion. Hoping the patients recover fully soon. May the departed souls Rest in Peace!

Aderonke Ogunleye-Bello is an award-winning Nigerian Journalist and Gender Advocate, currently serving as Special Assistant on New Media to the FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu. She writes from Abuja

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FCTA demolishes 100 illegal shops in Kubwa

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The Federal Capital Administration (FCTA) has demolished about 100 illegal shops, built around Kubwa Village market, six days after 10 persons were burnt to death following a Kerosine explosion in the market.

The Chairman, FCT Ministerial Taskforce on City Sanitation, Mr Ikharo Attah, who led the exercise, on Wednesday in Abuja, explained that the demolition was initiated to correct contraventions constituting environmental nuisances in the market.

Attah said both the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, and Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, were not happy with the continued contraventions in the market and have directed the taskforce to rid the area of illegal shops to prevent further life and safety-threatening incidents.

According to him, the FCT Commissioner of Police, Sunday Babaji, has reiterated commitment to providing security backup for every operations targeted at tackling illegalities and criminalities within the nation’s capital.

Attah expressed dismay over continue violation of FCT developmental blueprint by residents and traders which often led to deaths of innocent people.

The taskforce chairman said that illegal shops were built directly under electricity high tension installations, while many were used to block access roads, making it difficult for rescue operations, in an event of emergency.

“Occupiers of these illegal shops have been put on notice for a very long time now, as many of their kiosks and illegal extension structures were removed.

“We have always been on this road axis for the past three years, trying to clean it up and we have always had intense problems. We have cleared the road to the market which was blocked for about six years.

“But in the aftermath of the fire incident wherein about 10 persons lost their lives, we had no option than to do what we believe is the right thing.

“Even the very shop where the explosion happened, we had removed that tank. We will remove all the illegal shops because the community had been blocked,” he said.

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