A warehouse belonging to Erisco Foods Limited, said to contain raw materials, was gutted by fire on Monday with the company allegedly losing over N450 million, THISDAY has learnt.
Erisco Foods had recently said it would shut down its factory once its exhausted the raw materials.
According to the company, the fire broke out in the early hours of Monday.
The company said it declined to comment on the inferno earlier, until they had full details of the loss suffered but allowed access to journalists to see for themselves the extent of damage.
The Chairman, Erisco foods, Mr. Eric Umeofia, refused to comment on the incident.
Meanwhile, the General Manager of the company, Mr. Tokunbo Agbede, said: “Yesterday, the raw materials in one of our warehouses caught fire. The value of goods destroyed is put at over N450 million. This colossal loss could have been avoided if we had received the adequate support of the federal government. The lack of support support from the government has been limiting our expansion and progress.
“And that is why we had these raw materials lying down there. It therefore means that if we had received adequate support from these government, we would have used up these raw materials.
“How then do we move ahead in Nigeria if a company like our which is the largest in Africa and the fourth largest in the world is having this kind of challenge, it is terrible and worrisome.”
When asked to respond to what caused the fire, Agbede said the company is waiting for an official report by the Lagos State fire service. He, however, did not rule out sabotage.
He added: “As at this moment, we cannot say what caused the fire; we are awaiting the report of the investigation. We are asking what they think caused the fire.
“As it is now, it doesn’t change our resolve, we are moving out. It shows that nothing is done to encourage local manufacturers like us. This further dampens our morale and zeal to manufacture here.”
Agbede further added: “We cannot rule out sabotage really. That is why we have invited the police to investigate.”
Furthermore, he clarified the notion that the company was closing down, he said the company was only moving out its manufacturing arm and would start importing once it exhausts its raw materials.