Goods and several property worth millions of naira were lost to an inferno that gutted more than 1000 shops in the Fancy Section of the Aleshinloye Internattional Market in Ibadan late on Friday.
Our correspondent who visited the market on Saturday observed that the fire had not been completely put out despite fire fighters efforts overnight to put it out. Some of the traders who spoke with our correspondent blamed high voltage and poor fire fighting-facility at the market for the disaster.
The Chairman of the traders’ association, Mr. Rahman Olabamiji said the fire began late on Friday after the close of activities. He said traders rushed back to the market from their various homes when they learnt of the fire but it was too late as the fire raged throughout the night. He blamed the fire on the high voltage electricity supplied to the market late on Friday.
“The power voltage supplied by Electricity Distribution Company for this area was too high and it was the major cause of the fire. It began after 8pm on Friday night after we had all left the market. By the time we were called, it had spread to several other parts of the market. Our section was badly affected as no shop was spared by the fire,” he said.
“We have a fire station in the market but when the rescue vehicle arrived, there was little water in its tank. We called for reimbursement from other sources but it was too late. It was eventually put out but what was achieved was just to prevent other sections of the market from being consumed. No life was lost in the fire but the fire burnt everything we had in the shops. We all lost everything we had and starting all over will be difficult considering the fact that we trade with loans from banks,” Olabamiji said, adding that hoodlums used the adavantage to steal most of the salvaged items until the police came to send them away.
Deputy Managing Director, Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, John Darlignton, said it would be wrong to put the blame on the company, adding that the company’s position on the allegation would be made known after conducting an investigation.
The Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi visited the market around 1 am on Saturday and witnessed the fire and efforts made to put it out. He promised to assist the traders.