By Umar Yusuf
Yola—An early morning inferno yesterday razed down the 80-year-ago Yola market destroying properties worth billions of Naira with the state commissioner of police announcing arrest of some looters .
The cause of the fire which reportedly started at about 2:30 am went out of control as initial efforts to put it off were hampered by lack of access roads.
An eyewitness disclosed that the fire might have consumed about 90 percent of shops with many shop owners broken down in tears as a result of the losses suffered in the fire incident.
A shop owner, Mallam Babayola Maijimilla whose shop was also razed down said “the fire started around the middle of the market, efforts by early sympathizers to put it out were rebuffed by security operatives who denied them access into the market for fear of looting.
According to him, the situation did not get better even upon the arrival of fire fighters who found it difficult to gain access to the point of the inferno as the market did not have access roads.
Chairman, Adamawa Traders Association, Alhaji Ibrahim Mohammad, appealed to the federal, as well as state and local governments to come to their aid, saying that they lost 90 per cent of their shops to the inferno.
Adamawa State Deputy Governor, Martins Babale, who was among the early callers at the market said the government will assess the extent of damage with a view to knowing the level of intervention.
Babale called on NEMA, corporate organizations and wealthy individuals to come to the aid of the marketers.
Similarly, the Speaker Adamawa State House of Assembly, Kabir Mijinyawa, in whose constituency the market is situated called on the traders to be patient as the government assesses the level of damage on the market.
He urged them to see the incident as an act of God even as he promised to do everything in his capacity to ensure that the marketers get succour from the government.
Commenting on the incident, the state Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, Mr Sa’ad Abubakar, said the fire started around 3 am and that no life was lost.
He said fire fighters from the state fire service, Nigerian Army, Air force, and American University of Nigeria intervened to contain the inferno.
Meanwhile, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Gazali Mohammed, has confirmed the arrest of “some looters” at Yola ancient market gutted by fire.
Mohammed who did not give the number of those arrested said adequate security measures had been provided at the scene to check activities of looters.
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