Fire Incident at Canadian High Commission in Abuja: A Tragic Accident
On Monday, November 6th, a tragic incident unfolded at the High Commission of Canada in Nigeria, located in Abuja’s Central Business District. A fire erupted while workers were conducting maintenance on generators at the High Commission, leading to a devastating outcome. The event resulted in two fatalities and left two individuals injured. Canadian authorities have confirmed that initial findings suggest it was an unfortunate accident, and a thorough investigation is underway.
The fire was ignited when a diesel tank within the generator house, containing 2,000 liters of fuel, exploded. Regrettably, both victims were Nigerian maintenance workers, while two others sustained severe burns. Global Affairs Canada has identified one of the deceased as a locally employed staff member of the High Commission. Fortunately, all other High Commission staff members are reported to be safe and unharmed.
In response to this tragic event, Global Affairs Canada has promptly taken action by temporarily closing the mission, which is situated in Abuja’s diplomatic quarter, “until further notice.” This decision has been made to ensure the site’s safety and to cooperate with local authorities in determining the cause of the explosion. Mélanie Joly, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, expressed her condolences to the families of the victims and emphasized the unfortunate nature of the accident.
Ottawa has also updated its travel advisory for Nigeria, acknowledging the temporary closure of the High Commission. While investigations into the explosion’s exact cause are ongoing, current information leans toward categorizing it as an accident rather than a deliberate act.
Data provided to the Senate foreign affairs committee by Global Affairs Canada, as of August 2022, indicated the presence of 12 Canadian diplomats and 32 locally hired staff members at the Nigerian High Commission. The Canadian High Commission in Abuja is actively working to ensure the safety of its premises and to determine the underlying causes of this unfortunate incident.
During this challenging time, our thoughts are with those affected and their families.