Goods and properties worth hundreds of millions of naira were today destroyed by fire at Kugbo Furniture Market in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
Some eyewitnesses told our reporter that the fire started after a spark in an electrical appliances store in one of the shops.
One of the witnesses, who gave his name as Uche Okwu, said the fire started at 11.00 p.m. last night after traders had gone home. He blamed the colossal fire and its attendant destruction on the failure of the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) to respond to a request by members of the Market Association to expand the market. “The loss today cannot be quantified,” said Mr. Okwu.
SaharaReporters learnt that the fire burnt more than a hundred shops beyond recognition after raging for more than five hours before fire fighters could contain it.
Ishaya Shonuku, an official of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), attributed the fire to some traders who leave their electrical appliances plugged in overnight. He described the fire as unfortunate and said it had created a monumental loss for the traders. He said that this was not the first time the market would be gutted fire, adding that three fire incidents had been recorded in the past. He regretted that no safety precaution measures were ever adopted.
A trader, who identified himself as John Ifeanyi, disclosed that his two shops were razed beyond recognition. He lamented that he just took a fresh delivery of goods before the fire struck. He called on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and AMAC for quick intervention to expand the market just as he blamed the fire on the electrical fault from one of the shops.
Numerous traders were seen milling around the devastated scene and counting their losses. One of them told our correspondent that they were going to mobilize for protests. They asked unaffected traders to close their shops and join the protest.
Kugbo Furniture Market is considered the biggest furniture market in Abuja metropolis. Many traders blamed congestion at the market for the recurrent fire outbreaks. The market was once located at Nyanya-Abuja Express Road before its relocation.