Traders at Ekpoma main market in Edo State lost millions of naira when fire gutted over 10 shops on Sunday morning.
One of the traders, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the loss could be further due to the efforts of people living near the market who came out to put out the fire. He stated that the fire started from a wire in a store that caught fire when the power was restored.
He said: “The fire started around 10:45 a.m. when a cable caught fire after power was restored. More traders suffered heavy financial losses while residents rushed out to put out the fire.
“As a market trader, I praise the efforts of the neighbors who came out to put out the fire. It could have been more of a loss. However, 10 shops with goods worth crores were lost as most of the traders just bought to sell during the festive period,” he added.
However, a lecturer at Ambrose Ali University, Prof. Jude Obasanmi, said it was disappointing that there was no fire service, and wondered why Benin City is the only place with a functioning fire service.
Narrating the incident, Obasanmi said a market lady who was coming to do some sales set some refuse on fire and spread it to the shops and burnt it down.
He said: “A lady came to her shop to do some sales around Aburime Street. After making a few sales, he collected the refuse and started burning it. He did not wait to see the end but left and the fire spread to other areas.
When our correspondent called the control room of the Edo State Fire Service for the cause of the fire and efforts to put it out, an officer referred the reporter to another officer from Ekpoma. Several attempts to speak to the officer failed because the number was switched off.
However, there is only one fire truck available in the state and it is located on the Ring Road in Benin.