Nigeria: Ultima Studios on fire


Sunday August 22, 2010, it was revealed that a serious fire completely damaged the Ultima Studios in Murhi International building at Omole, Lagos, in Nigeria. The Ultima Studios are where TV shows “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” (WWTBAM) and MTN “Project Fame” West Africa season 3 are filmed and from where they were broadcasted to the rest of the country.

A recording for WWTBAM had just ended, when crew members noticed a minor fire, late Sunday. But what started as a small blaze soon turned into huge flames as extinguishers failed to curtail the fire. Staff and contestants who were housed in the Academy were promptly evacuated. There were neither injuries nor lives lost. However, both the studios for WWTBAM and MTN Project Fame West Africa were badly hit and invaluable equipment lost to the inferno.

Ultima CEO, Femi Ayeni, told reporters on the site, Sunday, “although the incident is catastrophic and the loss shattering, we’re grateful to God that no lives were lost. The contestants are safe and we are confident that the show will go on, and in no time at all we will be back on air so keep watching.” Early visitors to the site included MTN’s GM Consumer Marketing, Kola Oyeyemi. MTN, Nigeria’s largest telecoms company, is the sole sponsor for WWTBAM and the title sponsors for Project Fame.  “This is a monumental disaster. We can’t even begin to comprehend the personal, emotional and material loss. But in all we thank God that no lives were lost. MTN is committed to enriching lives through our different services, properties and initiatives and we are already discussing with our partners at Ultima on how to make sure this tragedy does not distract us”. Ultima is determined to take this incident in its stride and plans are on to return to full and enhanced production of WWTBAM and PFWA.

Fortunately, there is some good news out of it: Luckily, no life was lost.
It is expected that the shows will continue as scheduled in another studio.
The disaster has also raised questions regarding Health & Safety rules in the country, and some have urged the government to build more fire stations in every community and provide regular inspections. Many have encouraged taking safety measures in all buildings and going the extra mile to protect investments from risks and negligence.
Lastly, an investigation will reveal why this happened and how one can avoid from it happening again.