Iga Idunganran, the palace of the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, on Lagos Island, was at scene of confusion on Tuesday as fire gutted part of the monarch’s royal resident.
H Metro that Akiolu was around when the incident happened.
He said the palace authorities did not want to speak to people on the fire.
He said, “The fire started around 1.30pm. The fire service arrived 1.50pm. Except the emergency officials, nobody was allowed to enter. The gate was shut. A lot of policemen were on the ground. The fire started from one of the air conditioners in the palace. I learnt the kabiyesi (Akiolu) was inside the palace when the incident happened.”
Our correspondent learnt that apart from the Lagos State firefighters, officials of the Federal Fire Service, Julius Berger Fire Service and the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency joined in the effort to put out the fire.
An emergency official, who did not want his name in print as he was not authorised to speak to the press on the incident, confided in PUNCH Metro that the fire affected an apartment on the second floor of the palace.
The source said furniture, clothes and some other household items in the apartment were destroyed, adding that the fire affected the living room wall of the apartment.
He said, “The palace is a storeyed building. The fire affected an apartment on the second floor. It is a flat and the living room was nearly damaged. The fire was broke out from one of the air conditioners in the house. The apartment was full of smoke by the time firefighters arrived at the palace.
“The smoke had engulfed everywhere, so we didn’t discover the point of the fire immediately. Household items, such as clothes and furniture, were destroyed. The radiation of the fire slightly affected the bedroom of the apartment. It was a sensitive incident. The palace authorities told us that they did not want it to be in the public domain. We were not even allowed to take pictures of the apartment.”
Efforts to get reactions of the Director, Lagos State Fire Service, Mr. Rasaq Fadipe and the LASEMA General Manager, Mr. Adesina Tiamiyu, proved abortive as calls put across to their lines indicated not reachable.
However, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole, confirmed the incident, adding that the situation had been brought under control.
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, has dissociated himself from a statement credited to one Tunde Awoyeni who claimed that the palace would invoke the wrath of his ancestors on the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, for snubbing him at at a public function on Tuesday.
The disclaimer was contained in a statement issued on Friday by the Director of Media and Public Affairs of the Ooni’s Palace, Mr. Moses Olafare.
Oba Ogunwusi restated that he would continue to hold the Oba of Lagos in high esteem and would not stop to accord him with respect despite what he did.
Oba Ogunwusi stated that he would not stop respecting Oba Akiolu because he was not only as one of the foremost traditional rulers in the country but also an elderly Oba.
The statement read, “The Palace of Ooni is using this medium to dissociate Ooni of Ife from the statement credited to Mr Tunde Awoyemi and we have said it repeatedly that we have no official reaction to the issue of Oba Akiolu.
“Kabiyesi Ogunwusi is committed to his peace and unity agenda, which he has embarked on since he ascended the throne of his forefathers. We refrain from reacting officially, with a view to avoiding fanning any ember of discord as Oba Akiolu remains respected monarch and the Ooni had established a very robust and healthy relationship with him before his installation as Ooni of Ife.
“While Ooni would continue to sustain the relationship with Oba Akiolu, we want to state categorically that the remark credited to Tunde Awoyemi was not authorised by Ooni and should be disregarded by all Nigerians both at home and in diaspora.”