FIRE outbreak in markets across Nigeria surged in 2019. Nigerian traders have not witnessed such loss of properties and goods that sometimes come with loss of lives. Businesses which are sponsored or serviced through bank loans were also gutted by fire.
On November 7, 2019, at Balogun Market, a five storey building situated at 43 Martins Street, Lagos State, was razed down with goods and properties worth millions of naira were destroyed. It was recorded that a combined team of servicemen from Lagos Fire Service, federal fire service, Julius Berger, UBA and Union Bank were at the scene to extinguish and prevent fire from spreading to other areas.
The Director-General, Lagos State Emergency Management (LASEMA), Olufemi Oke- Osanyintolu said that the officials were able to locate and stop the fire from spreading elsewhere.
In his contribution, Director-General, Lagos State Safety Commission, Lanre Mojola, attributed crowd control as major challenge at scenes of fire outbreak and other accidents. While special Adviser to Gov. Babajide Sanwo- Olu on Lagos Central Business District,Olanrewaju Elegushi said the state government would soon provide fire hydrants in the area to enable the servicemen have access to water.
According to reports, traders who talked to the press, wondered why there were fire incidents every time in the same area at the same time. They lamented that their stores were stockpiled in readiness for the season and some traders were sponsored through bank loans and pleaded with the government to come to their aid.
In another development, Ndi Anambra will not forget in a hurry a fire outbreak that occurred at Onitsha, Anambra State on October 16, 2019, where people lost their lives and properties worth millions of naira were also destroyed, while certain goods that was not destroyed by fire were carried away by thieves. The cause of the fire outbreak was as a result of fuel laden tanker that fell into the water drainage channel and fuel from the tank spilt, fire followed through the sewage until it caught fire at a gas depote and strayed into parts of Ochanja Market where some persons including a nursing mother, her baby, amongst others lost their lives, properties.
Governor Willie Obiano expressed his sympathy to the families of the woman and compensated some traders who lost their goods and properties to the fire outbreak.
Kaduna State had bitter experience in February 20, 2019. It was on news that there was another fire outbreak at Station Market, where one person died, while about 500 shops were destroyed. It was suspected that the cause of the fire outbreak was an electrical fault.
One of the traders lamented that five of his shops that were rented to traders were destroyed and the vice chairman of the market, John Nwokoye blamed the state fire service for not doing enough to stop the fire.
Enugu State had its own fire outbreak on Friday, July 12, 2019, at Ama-Igbo Market near Obiagu. The Gov. of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi rescued the 68 victims with the sum of N6.8 million, from which each trader was given N100, 000. Fire Service men blamed the road that leads to the market as the cause of non performance. According to them, the road was not motorable.
In Benin, Edo State, no fewer than 300 shops and goods worth millions of naira were on Saturday, October 20, destroyed at Santana Market around Sapele Road.
Both federal and state governments should protect the wealth of citizens of this country, so that 2020 will be enjoyed by most traders. It is expected that all hands will be on deck to equip markets and environment with hydrants to avoid further occurrence.