Paul Osuyi, Asaba
TRADERS at the Ogbogonogo Modern Market, a major foodstuff market
along the Nnebisi Road, Asaba, Delta
State capital, are still counting their
losses as a result of an early morning
fire that gutted a section of the market.
The inferno, which was said to have
started at about 7am consumed the entire livestock section and a section of
Chickens, goats and other livestock
were roasted while sewing machines,
tailoring items and other goods worth
millions of naira, were lost to the raging fire. As at the time of filing this
report, there was no human casualty,
as the daily market is usually closed
every Tuesday since the outbreak of
But caution was thrown to the wind
as efforts to put out the fire intensified.
Social distancing, a major practice for
preventing the spread of COVID-19,
was not observed, as people clustered
to assist to prevent the fire from spreading to other parts of the market.
Although the cause of the inferno
was not yet known, sources at the market attributed it to an electrical fault,
which sparked from a section where
mobile phones and accessories are sold.
Traders at the affected section of the
market wailed as sympathisers made
anxious efforts to salvage what was left
when our correspondent visited.
One of the affected traders said: “I
am finished. All my sewing machines
are gone. Even materials that I collected from customers all got burnt in
the shop. A witness sympathised with
the affected traders saying that most
of them were now using their tooth to
count their losses as the fire razed shops
and goods along the Nnebisi road.
“The first state fire service truck
that came to rescue the situation ran
out of water while the fire was still on.
As at 9.26am, the fourth fire service
truck arrived while Good Samaritans
were serving water from the gutter to
quench the fire but to no avail.”
The witness said that angry traders
almost lynched a police officer at the
scene as people were scampering for
life and trying to salvage their goods
but were prevented from having a freefor-all. The source disclosed that the
fire spread because of the closeness of
shops to one another, a development,
which the source said made it difficult
for the fire fighters to gain access into
the market to battle it. Incidentally,
our correspondent gathered that the
state government had through the
Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency, issued a three-month
ultimatum to the traders to vacate the
area and secure spaces inside the main
market. Director General of the agency,
Mrs. Amaechi Mrakpor, was said to be
one of the early callers while the fire
was still raging to sympathise with affected traders. She, however, kept mute
during the visit.