Thankfully, the CBN fire incident wasn't really a fire incident. The shame is that the CBN and other govt buildings are run on generators.
As images of an imposing CBN building covered in plumes of black smoke suffused the internet, the apex bank quickly debunked online reports that its edifice had been engulfed by a raging fire.
CBN spokesperson Isaac Okorafor clarified that the rumor began when passersby saw a pall of smoke from the exhaust of the CBN generator house and mistook it for fire.
"The CBN maintains a total security system that triggers safety alarms in the presence of smoke and so all fire engines and personnel received the alert only to discover that it was an unusual pall of exhaust.
"The affected generator has been rested and normal work has been going on uninterrupted, while the engineers are working to rectify the issues with the generator.
"We hereby assure the general public that there has been no fire at our building," Okoroafor said.
While we join the CBN in heaving a sigh of relief in the wake of the false alarm, it is a real shame that the CBN and other government offices across the nation are still powered by generators.
Even the federal seat of power, Aso Rock, is run on generators.
All the ministries, the national assembly, state legislatures, the courts across Nigeria, are run on generators.
We are talking big, expensive generators, enough to power whole towns. It is little wonder fixing our near moribund power sector hasn't been considered a priority by government.
Nigeria has to be the only country in the world where budgets are littered with line items like ‘cost of petrol, cost of diesel, generator maintenance, purchase of generators etc’.
We really are a sick country, it has to be said.
You can’t even blame the passersby who mistook the black smoke engulfing the CBN building for an inferno. Everyone who saw the first pictures on social media should be forgiven for concluding that was a fire incident.
The CBN is the nation’s monetary capital in a manner of speaking, yet it has neither regular power supply nor a generator that works optimally, just like the rest of the country.
With a population of over 180 million people, it should annoy us that we can only boast 5,000 megawatts of electricity at the best of times.
What happened at the CBN this week was really a thing of shame. No more, no less.