No fewer than 100 shops, equipment and goods worth over N100m were razed by fire on Friday at a section of Sango Plank Market in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
Chairman, Ibadan Carpenters’ Association, Ibadan North Local Government Area, Mr Abdul-Akeem Olanrewaju, who confirmed the incident to journalists, disclosed that the inferno was reported to have started at about 2 am.
He, however, declared that the inferno would have burnt the entire market and some surrounding houses but for the swift intervention of the Oyo State Fire Service.
Olanrewaju also alleged that the inferno must have been caused by arsonists, noting that there was a law that every shop must close by 7 p.m.
He said, “We have a task force that usually goes out on patrol at the close of the market to ensure that no electrical appliance or machine is left connected to power supply.
“We also have night guards. I don’t think this fire disaster was from power supply and our machines.”
One of the affected traders, Mr Abdul-Azeez Dauda, while reacting declared that he had lost everything in the market to the inferno, adding that it would affect his livelihood and that of his family.
He said “How do I survive? How do I pay the school fees of my children? How do we eat at home now? Honestly, I don’t know what to do. I need assistance.”
The Director, Oyo State Fire Service, Mr Moshood Adewuyi, while speaking at the scene of the fire incident said that the fire brigade swiftly mobilised to the scene immediately a distress call was made to his office.
Adewuyi lamented the extent of damage and urged the traders to be careful with their working tools and abide by all safety procedures, saying fire almost gutted the surrounding houses.
“When I got there, I learnt the fire started from a shop. They said the electricity supply was on when the fire started.
“So, one of the machines might have overrun leading to the fire outbreak. The traders deal with free burning materials that quickly ignite and spread.”