By Ugochukwu Alaribe – Umuahia
Fashion designers along Jubilee road in Aba, Abia State, have urged the state government to assist them resume business after they lost machines and fabrics worth millions of Naira in a fire incident which gutted their workshops.
Saturday Vanguard gathered that the inferno which occurred Wednesday night at the Asa House in the area destroyed 15 industrial sewing machines, fabrics and finished designer clothes worth millions of Naira.
One of the affected fashion designers, Mr Okechukwu Nderi, said they worked in the shop on Wednesday and went home, but he got calls that his workplace was on fire.
His words; “I was at home resting later in the night when I got a call informing me that my shop and other ones were on fire. It was already late in the night; I could not get to the scene until early morning, Thursday. But before I could reach here this morning, I saw that the fire had consumed almost everything before the Fire Service came to quench the fire. We lost 15 industrial sewing machines and high quality and expensive fabrics, all of which could be valued in the neighbourhood of N13 million burnt to ashes.”
Another fashion designer who gave his name as Emeka, lamented that a consignment of finished materials he was to send to his customers in Abuja the next day was completely burnt in the inferno.
“The estimate of industrial machines and fabrics I lost in the fire is over N10 million. I don’t even know what to tell my customers in Abuja whose materials I had prepared to send to them the next day. All I had labored in life to set up this shop have gone up in flames. I’m appealing to the government to come to my aid to enable me to start business again.”
Caretaker of the building, Mr Onwuka Onuegbe who was also affected, said they were sleeping at midnight on Wednesday when power was restored to the area.
He disclosed that the fire started in one of the shops where fashion designers were working and spread to other areas.
According to him, it was not long after the power restoration that the fire started in one of the shops the fashion designers were making use of.
Onuegbe stated that efforts made by the people around the area to quench the fire, was unsuccessful.
They, however, invited personnel of the Abia Fire Service who assisted to put off the fire after many machines and fabrics had been burnt.
The fashion designers pleaded for financial assistance from the state government and individuals to help them restart their businesses and take care of their families.