The presidency has denied media reports that the Aso Rock Presidential Villa went up in flames Saturday night, saying that there was no fire within the perimeter walls of the State House.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, made this known in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.
According to him, there was indeed a bush fire behind the fence of the ‘Villa’ Saturday night but the said inferno did not enter the premises of the State House, as it was effectively contained by firefighters.
Though it said investigations were ongoing on the source of the said fire, he said initial suspicion suggested cigarette stub light, which might have been dropped in the bush from the nearby express.
Mr Shehu explained that the said inferno had no impact on any building, property or human within and around the State House.
“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 fire 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 fire, 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,” the statement said.