A sad day for the traders in Wadata Market, Makurdi, the Benue State capital, as the market went up in flames in the early hours of Wednesday.
The fire which started around 1.am destroyed goods, particularly foodstuffs, said to worth millions of naira.
We learnt that the fire started from the poultry section of the market and spread through the fish section to the palm oil and grains sections of the market.
It was gathered that for more than four hours, both the state fire service and residents battled to put out the fire and eventually succeeded in bringing it under control around 5am.
They claimed that most of them had taken loans to stock their shops ahead of the New Year, calling on government to come to their aid.
The Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Doo Shave, said the fire service received a distress call from one of the affected traders around 2am, adding that fire trucks were driven to the scene, while firefighters put out the fire under 5am.
…Ortom donates N30m to victims
The Benue Government has donated N30m to the victims of the Wadata Market fire.
Governor Samuel Ortom who announced the donation when he inspected the burnt section of the market on Wednesday said the amount was an interim support to the traders.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Ortom sympathised with the traders and assured them that the government would assist them “in every way possible.”
The governor said the committee would be headed by the Secretary to the State Government, Tony Ijoh (SAN).
He explained that the committee would find out the remote and immediate causes of the fire, the challenges in the market and recommend how government could address them.
Ortom recounted the damage caused by fire at the Gboko Market on two different occasions recently, and said government was considering ways of addressing fire outbreaks.
He directed that boreholes be dug in the market and urged security agencies to adequately guard the place until normalcy returned.
Earlier, the Vice President, Makurdi Traders’ Union, Mallam Yusuf Abdulahi, said the fire victims were mainly petty traders whose livelihood depended on their daily incomes from the market.
Abdulahi further urged the state government to assist the traders in rebuilding their shops and providing other relief materials to them.
He said statistics on the affected sections and the value of wares lost could not be established immediately, adding that the union had commenced collection of data.