April 9, 2024

Fire razes 200 shops in Cross River


No fewer than 200 shops were razed by fire on Monday night at the Ikom main market in Ikom Local Government Area of Cross River.

Mr Chika Anya, chairman of the Lagos line of the market, said the intensity of the inferno was such that nothing could be salvaged from the affected shops.

According to him, the inferno has been a reoccurring issue almost every year in the market.

He alleged that, as with previous cases, the state fire service was unable to provide much support.

“All we want now is support from the government to enable us to get our lives back.

“Government should also do the needful by having a functional fire service in Ikom and other council areas of the state,” Anya told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

One of the affected shop owners, Augustine Eze, said it was difficult to ascertain the cause of the inferno as there was no electricity “and nobody is allowed to pass the night in the market.”

Eze said they got little support from the state fire service during the incident.

“This is not the first time we are having fire issue in the market, and there is always no assistance to quench it since the state fire service lacks the equipment to fight one here,” Eze claimed.

Meanwhile, Mr Peter Okorebi, the state director of fire service, said they would investigate the cause of the fire and take preventive measures.

Okorebi, however, said that the shop owners have long formed the habit of cooking in the shops despite repeated warnings against such by the service.

According to him, the traders have refused to heed safety precautions.

“Our safety officers have repeatedly advised them against this trend, but they simply won’t listen,” he added.

The director debunked the claims that the fire service lacked the necessary facilities to contain fire outbreaks in the area. (NAN)