By Esther Onyegbula
Goods worth millions of naira and shops were razed by an early morning inferno at Ayoka Plaza in the popular Iyana-Iba market.
The cause of the fire that started at about 6:30 am was yet to be determined, as the incident happened when the shops were locked.
Traders whose shops were mostly affected by the inferno are wholesalers that stocked imported clothing, shoes, babies and household items.
When Vanguard visited the scene, yesterday, scavengers were seen picking up iron and burnt items from the rubbles, while some of the affected traders were busy removing debris of burnt wares from their shops.
One of the affected traders, simply called Nne Ejima, who spoke to Vanguard, said: “My shop wasn’t directly affected by the fire as I was able to salvage my goods before the fire got to it. Unfortunately, the people who helped me packed my goods stole them in the process.”
Recounting the incident, another trader, Amaka, who deals in baby items and shoes said: “I was getting ready for church when I received a call that the market was on fire. I immediately boarded a bike. When I got here, the fire was raging, my goods were burning and I could do nothing to salvage any item.”
Attempts by Vanguard reporter and other interested parties to take pictures of the rubbles were rebuffed as the angry traders openly resisted by attacking them. They expressed fears that government may close the market if the disaster in the market was blown open.