By Ugochukwu Alaribe
ABA—Goods worth over N10 million were, yesterday, consumed by fire at the popular Nkwa Ngwa Market in Aba, Abia State.
The inferno, which started at about 7.15p.m., consumed the building materials and furniture sections of the market located at Obohia Road, Aba.
Also yesterday, 77 temporary shops at Kasuwar Kurmi (‘Yan Gumama) Market in Kano were razed by fire.
On the Nkwa Ngwa Market fire in Aba, eyewitnesses told Vanguard it started through the ignition of a power generator and spread to the carpentry and building materials sections of the market.
Chairman of Nkwo Ngwa Market, Prince Okechukwu Lawrence, said goods worth over N10 million were lost to the inferno as hoodlums frustrated rescue efforts and looted shops.
He lamented that the hoodlums also looted shops in other sections of the market, which were not affected by the fire and urged security agencies to help provide security in the area.
The chairman further said that the dilapidated state of the Obohia Road made it difficult for the fire service men to access the market on time and urged the state government to urgently rehabilitate the road.
According to Lawrence, “I got information about 7.15p.m. that the market was on fire. We broke down the gates of the market for sympathisers to help us before the fire service came to the area.
“We even opened our boreholes to help provide water. But hoodlums broke into shops and looted them.
“The Aro cult boys broke into the other sections of the market, which was not affected by the fire and stole bags of rice, stock fish, clothing and other goods. The Aro cult boys have been our problem.”
Police Commissioner reacts
Abia State Commissioner of Police, Chris Ezike, who inspected the burnt section of the market, said the market was “not in a good shape” as it is filled with inflammable materials.
He urged the traders to be calm as the Police have taken over the scene, adding that investigation is ongoing.
Confirming the Kano fire incident yesterday, the State Fire Service spokesman, Alhaji Saidu Mohammed, said 70 of the shops were razed completely.
“We received a distress call at about 07:35a.m. from one Aliyu Ibrahim that there was fire outbreak at the market.
“On receiving the information, we quickly sent some of our personnel and firefighting vehicles to the scene of the incident at about 07:43a.m. to quench the fire so as not to affect other shops.”
The spokesman said that 70 of the shops were completely razed, while seven shops were saved due to the quick intervention of the firemen.
Mohammed advised traders at the market and other residents to be more careful and desist from using instruments capable of triggering fire, to guard against future occurrence during this dry season.
He also advised the people to keep fire buckets, blankets and extinguishers that would enable them to curtail fire before calling on the fire service, adding investigation is on to determine the cause of the fire.