Fire: NNPC Demands N2.5bn from NICON
From Lillian Okenwa in Abuja

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has demanded N2.5 billion indemnity from the Nigerian National Insurance Corporation of Nigeria (NICON) following the fire incident at its Ikoyi, Lagos office in December last year.

NNPC made the demand yesterday when it asked the Panel of Inquiry investigating the fire incident to urge NICON to pay up the said N2.5 billion indemnity.

During cross-examination, the deputy manager, Legal Services at the National Petroleum Investment Mana-gement Services (NAPIMS) Mr. Anthony Chukwuma Maduchie, said the NNPC building was covered by a policy with NICON.

"The period of insurance is 1st January 1999 to 31st December 2003. It was a long-term agreement. As at the time of the fire incident the NNPC property was covered by insurance. The premiums were paid up to date. The total premium paid so far by virtue of this policy by NNPC is N2.5 billion," Maduchie said.

He also informed the panel that given the circumstances under which the fire commenced and from the investigations carried out by an internal committee set up by the organisation, the fire was clearly sparked off by electrical problems.

The committee's report, he said, was very consistent with NAPIMS' security report on the incident.

Asked whether he was aware of the statement made by Youth Democratic Move-ment to the effect that they caused the fire, Maduchie said he was aware but that the organisation had since retracted the statement.

Though chairman of the panel, Mr. Damien D. Dodo (SAN), said NEPA report disclosed that the fire was not electrical, Maduchie insisted it was, stressing that nobody could have set fire on the building without anybody detecting it.

He also informed the panel that vital documents on contracts awarded from inception till date are safe as they were kept in fire proof filing cabinets.

The panel was asked to:

  • Determine the immediate and remote causes of the fire outbreak which occurred on Monday December 23, 2002 and destroyed the office building belonging to NNPC Ikoyi, Lagos.

  • Assess the extent of damage to the said office building and other properties of NNPC and any other building or property.

  • Investigate and determine whether any person, persons, body, corporate, authority or organisation failed to exercise due care and diligence in the discharge of his duties or in carrying out its activities in the office building or elsewhere or at any time relevant to the fire incident or the safety of the said office building and persons, amongst others.

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