More than 20 public and private buildings witnessed varying degrees of fire incidents this year, the Federal Government said on Friday.

Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, stated this as her ministry conducted a fire exit drill at the Federal Secretariat, Phase 1, Abuja, in commemoration of the the 2020 International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Farouq said the purpose of the fire exit/evacuation drill was to ensure effective and efficient use of the exit facilities available in the case of emergency.

She noted that such drills would ensure orderly exit under control and prevention of panic that had been responsible for much of the loss of lives in major fire disasters.

The minister said, “What we have just done is remarkable, considering the series of incidences of fire disasters in public and private buildings in Nigeria.

“In 2020 alone, we have witnessed more than 20 fire incidents in both public and private buildings.

“Experience and research have shown that panic, stampede and smoke inhalation rather than burns from fire have been responsible for loss of lives in the major fire disaster history.”

Farouq noted that the 13th of October every year had been set aside by the United Nations to raise awareness, educate the public and to mobilise political will and resources in ensuring disaster risk reduction globally.

She said the international theme for this year was ‘Disaster Risk Governance,’ adding that the theme was a reflection of the ministry’s focus to strengthen the existing strategies for disaster risk reduction.