Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin
No fewer than 23 shops were razed and goods worth millions of naira damaged in an early-morning inferno that reportedly wreaked havoc on Tuesday at Owode market, Offa, Kwara State.
According to eye a witness account, the fire started at about 1:00 am; but before sympathisers were able to reach the fire service, many shops had been engulfed in the inferno.
However, as soon as the State Fire Service arrived, the fire was initially prevented from further spreading to the other shops in that vicinities and later put under control.
Reacting on the incident, the Head, Media and Publicity of the Kwara Fire Service, Hassan Hakeem Adekunle, said that although the intelligence unit of the fire service was working to know the immediate and remote cause of the fire outbreak, he suspected that power surge might be the cause.
“If not because of the quick intervention of the fire brigade, the disaster would have been a greater one. About 23 shops were affected due to the little delay in calling the fire brigade.
“The cause of the inferno was suspected to be an electric spark, even though the intelligence team of the state Fire Service is still working to ascertain the actual cause of the “outbreak.”
Speaking on the incident, the Offa Descendants’ Union, O.D.U, through its national public relations officer, Maruf Olakekan Ajenifuja, said it received the news of the inferno that occurred at Owode market, Offa at the early hours of today, March 17, with sadness.
“The extent of the inferno, which allegedly occurred at a location close to Alhaji Sanni Abba House, is yet to be ascertained but O.D.U. has deployed relevant officials to the scene of the fire outbreak for more details.”
He noted that , “O.D.U. has sent emissaries to the Kwara State government in the past for a new fire service truck and the upgrade of the Fire Service station in Offa for efficient fire service delivery in order to safeguard lives and properties of our people but we are still awaiting the positive response of the state government.
“We sincerely hope that our amiable governor will accede to our humble request soonest in order to ameliorate this type of unfortunate fire incident in the future.
“Our fervent prayer is that Almighty God will give all the market men and women that lost valuable goods in this unfortunate fire incident the fortitude to bear the loss.”