From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
An industrialist in Anambra State, Chief Godwin Ezeemo, recently donated N1 million to the victims of Timber Market, Nnewi, fire disaster that destroyed goods worth billions of naira in the market.
Ezeemo who visited the scene of the fire incident called on other well-meaning people of the state to rally support for the victims as a way of being their brother’s keeper.
He said the cause of the fire should not be far-fetched as poor infrastructure characterized the features of the market and thanked God there was no life lost.
He noted that major markets like the timber market should have fire service stations nearby in case of eventualities like fire outbreak, calling on the state government to do the needful as the timber market was very important to the economy of the state.
He urged the traders to do their bits by paying their rates and taxes: “After exercising such civic responsibilities the government owes the traders the duty to build solid structures and facilities that would protect their wares. This fire was preventable, it is a neglect of responsibility and should be addressed urgently.
“With the timber market which is a combustible material it gives me concern why the market of such magnitude in Anambra business life was left unguarded, with bushes surrounding it, no wall to protect the merchandise, against any infiltrator.
“I attribute the cause of this fire outbreak to poor infrastructure and management in the markets. I urge the market leaders to look inward and organize themselves well to avoid future occurrence by putting in place necessary machinery in place to avert future occurrence.”
He consoled the victims: “This is not the end of life, be strong for yourselves and your family, there is still hope.” He was conducted round the scene of the incident by the chairman of the market, Mr. Chukwunoso Nnetu. He called on the state and Federal governments to come to the rescue of the traders who he said had encountered a colossal loss and must not be left to their own fate.
One of them, Muokwe, said he lost five timber machines that cost him N4.5 million each, pointing out that the current market value of the machines is N6 million per one.
Another victim, Eze, said he lost two saw machines valued at N87,000 each and a table for processing that cost him N45,000, saying that he has a family of seven children and his wife was doing no business.
Mr. Chibundu Obi who lost four processing machines that cost him N9,000,000 each could not hold back tears as he lamented over his loss.
The early morning fire had on January 5, 2017, destroyed about 155 stalls with over 500 timbers and saw machines.