No fewer than 300 shops and goods worth millions of Naira were on Saturday night destroyed by a fire that engulfed Santana market on Sapele road in Benin, Edo.
Reports that residents and owners of the shops could not salvage the situation due to the intensity of the fire.
Mr Monday Ogbeide, a resident around the market said the fire started at about 11 pm on Saturday.
“We just saw the market burning and we do not know the cause of the fire. All effort to put out the fire was not successful because of the intensity of the fire.
“When we got here, we called fire service but up till now they did not respond,” he said.
Ogbeide, however, blames the fire on power surge that might have occurred in one of the shops in the market when power was restored at night.
Mrs Justina Amadasun, a shop owner whose shop was affected by the fire, wept saying that the shop was her only means of livelihood.
Mrs Blessing Ayo, another shop owner who sells bags of rice and frozen food, said “l lost everything to the fire.
“All the bags of rice, cartons of chicken and deep freezers, including money which l could not take home yesterday among others went with the fire.
“Nobody should come and tell me that it was power surge because for three days now we did not have light in the market.
“I am calling on the government to come to our aid because this market is where we get our daily bread.
“Some of us are single mothers, we take care of our children from the money we make here.
“Government should come and help us now, it is not only when it comes to elections that they remember us. We need them now,” Ayo said.
It was learnt that it took the effort of firefighters from the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), to put out the inferno.
All effort to reach the state fire service to find out why they did not respond to the distress calls put across to them was not successful.
A visit by NAN correspondents to the office of the state fire service showed that the office was under lock and key.