Federal government debunks rumors that official records for payment of Covid-19 relief fund to poorest households was caught up in the fire on Wednesday, meanwhile PDP Calls for Investigation.

The federal government on Wednesday allayed fears of destruction of official records by the fire that razed Treasury House, which houses the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF).

Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, told reporters in Abuja after inspecting the scene of the incident that preliminary reports showed that all records were intact after the fire outbreak at a data center in the OAGF.

The oppositional party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has nevertheless called for a full investigation of the cause of the fire outbreak.

Addressing the press, Clem said “We have not lost any record,” and proceeded to attributing the fire to a spark from one of the cooling units.

He, however, said notwithstanding the preliminary explanation for the incident, a full-scale investigation would be conducted by professionals to ascertain the actual cause of the fire.

Further speaking on the cause, the minister said an officer who reported for work had tried to switch on one of the air-conditioners, leading to an electrical spark about 10.00 a.m.

Recall that the treasury house was caught in fire in the early hours of Wednesday and it was reported that the transaction records for distributing Covid-19 relief fund to the poorest households were burnt. Also, in the early hours of today, the finance minister, Zainab Ahmed said the federal government has lost the 700 billion naira meant for Covid-19 relief fund in the fire.

However, Prince Clem has explained the even though a few documents were caught up with the fire, all financial transactions are intact. According to him, there’s no cause to worry because a significant percentage of the treasury operations have gone digital provided a huge reprieve and helped minimise the damage.

Agba said:

“Even if the data centre were to be affected, we have a backup centre that is outside of Abuja for recovery in the event that we lose the data centre.”

“The only thing that has happened to the data centre is the exterior where we have the cooling units at the back because the data centre has to be cool. One of the immediate steps we have taken is just to shut down the data centre since the cooling system is not functioning optimally.”

He also made it clear that he is only disclosing the information he was given, he said: “We will be doing a full-scale investigation using the right professionals just to determine exactly what happened because what I am telling you now are what I have been told.”

“So, the professionals will be able to tell us whether it was from the air-conditioner or whether it was something that was induced and if we have had any material loss.” He furthered

PDP Demands Investigation

Reacting to the incident, the major opposition party, PDP called for a full-scale investigation into the circumstances surrounding what they described as the mysterious fire outbreak.

In a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, the party said the investigation was imperative given apprehensions in the public space regarding the time and the offices involved in the fire outbreak.

“Our party expresses shock that the fire incident came on the heels of our heightened calls for a forensic audit into the hazy oil subsidy regime of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for which trillions of naira is being claimed to have been spent,” 

PDP said, adding: “This is in addition to recent demands for an investigation into allegations of fraud and diversion of COVID-19 intervention funds as well as social investments programme of the Buhari’s government since 2015.”

Still expressing their heartfelt, the party explained that the whole country is expecting to know those behind the incident because the fire outbreak was reported to on the critical part of the offices which include the Treasury Single Account (TSA), Funds, Federation Account Allocation Committee and Revenue Department among others, relevant for the demanded financial inquests.

“Our party, therefore, calls for an immediate investigation to determine the actual cause of the fire, as well as ensure that critical documents and data on government revenue and expenditure are immediately retrieved,” it added.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus cases keep increasing in number daily with different states using different tactics in tackling the pandemic, including social distancing, stay-at-home policies and total lockdown. Nonetheless, our editors has compiled some tips on preventing the spread of the deadly virus.

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