A fire outbreak early Monday morning at a section of the popular Oba Market, Benin, has consumed hundreds of shops and goods worth millions of naira.
The incident happened barely few days after the Edo Government had ordered traders to return to the market from various primary schools that served as makeshift markets in the last six weeks.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the traders were relocated to the makeshift markets as part measures to contain the spread of coronavirus in the state.
There has been no clue yet to the cause of the fire which affected mostly lock-up shops stocked with textile materials and cosmetics.
The fire was however put off by fire fighters from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Fire Service, Federal Fire Service, Edo Fire Service and the Nigerian Army School of Supply and Transportation, Benin.
The Assistant Controller General, Federal Fire Service, Benin, Karebo Samson, said he received a distress call from the Chief Security Officer, Government House, Benin, and quickly mobilised his men to the scene.
He said: “I had to call the men at the station and they got here very early. They needed assistance because they exhausted the water they had.
“Immediately, I called the CSO that we needed assistance from sister firefighting agencies and told me he would call the UNIBEN fire service.
“The army fire service, the NNPC fire service and the Edo state fire service have also been on ground. We have been here since past 12 a.m. battling the fire.
“I cannot tell you the cause of the fire; we will send in our investigators possibly today or tomorrow so they can ascertain what actually caused the fire.”
Recounting their losses, one of the traders who sells textile material, Mary Osadolor, said she could not save any of her wares as her shop was completely burnt.
“They called me around 1 a.m. today that Oba market was on fire. Reaching here, we could not find any of our goods,” she said.
She however, appealed to the state government and well-meaning Nigerians to provide assistance to her and other victims.
Janet Akpan, a dealer on cosmetics, said she had lost all her goods worth millions of naira.
According to her, immediately the market was opened last week, she went to the market to stockpile her shop.
“Sadly, I have lost the only thing that I use to feed my family. The fire consumed all my wares. I do not have anything in my store; everything was burnt,” she lamented.