By Peter Duru
MAKURDI—WHILE picking its pieces from the 2001 Military invasion, a midnight inferno, weekend, razed part of the popular Zaki Biam main market in Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State, destroying property worth several millions of Naira.
Though no life was lost, over 30 shops were destroyed by the inferno which has adversely affected trading at the market.
Vanguard gathered from an eyewitness that the fire started in one of the shops where the owner forgot to switch off his electrical appliances after the day’s business.
The fire had devoured goods and property before locals mobilised to put out the fire. Their efforts yielded little result as goods had already been consumed.
Meanwhile, owners of the affected shops are lamenting that they lost everything to the mysterious fire.
Narrating his ordeal, one of the victims, Ifeako Ngene, an Igbo trader and owner of one the biggest supermarket and other shops in the area, disclosed that the fire started at about 12 midnight.
He said: “We did not know of the fire until about 3a.m. though it must have started at about 12 midnight. When we got there, we could not do anything because the fire was already too much. I lost everything to the fire.”
Ngene added that since there was no fire service station in the town, youths in the area battled effortlessly and to no avail to bring the fire under control.
For Uche Nwaka who deals in clothing materials, he had just stocked his shop preparatory to the Christmas sales. He lamented that he also lost cash to the inferno.