By Musa Na Annabi, Sokoto
THERE is palpable agony in Sokoto. Goods and property worth hundreds of millions of naira have been consumed by an fire that razed the popular Kara Market in Sokoto on Tuesday and brought the fortunes of the traders and homeowners into ruins.
Some of the major items of trade in the popular market are grains, onions, agricultural inputs, kolanut, wheat, generators and spare parts among others.
According to an eyewitness, the inferno was ignited by an electrical spark at a shop opposite Kofar Kade Gate. The eye witness said, however, that some of the traders were able to salvage some of their wares before the fire swept through the market, while others put up a strong fight with looters who took advantage of the unfortunate incident to loot wares, cash and other valuables of the victims.
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Some traders interviewed, said the fire incident was caused by the restoration of power supply in the early hours of the day. One of the victims of the inferno, Alhaji Musa Dan Hajiya, said electric spark was believed to be the genesis of the unfortunate fire incident. Another victim, Alhaji Yusuf Lambo, said they lost property, goods and cash stored in the market after late night transactions worth millions of naira.
Secretary of the Kolanut Traders Association, Mr. Shina Abula, told Arewa Voice that the fire which has left the traders devastated as it caused tremendous damage to market stalls, started at midnight on Tuesday.
Director General of the State Fire Service, Alhaji Muhammad Shehu, who confirmed the incident said, however, that no life was lost. Alhaji Shehu said the service would investigate the alleged sudden restoration of electricity to ascertain the immediate and remote causes of the inferno. However, the state government has pledged to provide emergency assistance to victims of the incident.
The State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, gave the assurance shortly after he visited the scene of the fire. Governor Tambuwal, who was represented by his deputy, Alhaji Mannir Daniya, also promised to allow the traders to continue with their business activities in the market pending the overhaul of the market.