Edo Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has set up a committee to unravel the cause of the fire which razed parts of Oba Market in Kings Square, Benin, the state capital.
The governor disclosed this during a visit to the market for an on-the-spot assessment of the incident, which occurred in the early hours of Monday.
Obaseki, who sympathised with the traders, said the in committee has been constituted to ascertain the cause of the incident.
The governor said efforts are ongoing to ascertain the victims who lost their goods for adequate compensation.
“The investigation committee will consist of officials of Oredo Local Government Area, the Nigeria Police, Federal Fire Service, State Fire Service, Directorate of State Services and the Special Adviser to the governor on Special Duty, Yakubu Gowon.
“The committee will also ensure suspected arsonists are arrested and prosecuted,” he said.
Obaseki said the committee is expected to submit its report within 10 days and advise on measures to equitably rehabilitate the victims.
The fire reportedly started at about 11 am yesterday when there was no electricity supply.
According to Karibo Samson, Assistant Controller, Federal Fire Service, Asaba, they were in Government House, Benin for a special assignment when he got a call from Obaseki’s Chief Security Officer (CSO) at about 12 midnight that the market was on fire.
Though the inferno was said to have been put out at about 6 am, Samson said they are yet to ascertain its cause.
It was learnt that the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) Fire Service and Air Force Fire Service also joined in combating the fire.
At the time of this report, the fire was still smothering, even as traders who lost their goods were seen wailing over their losses.
One of the traders who sells clothes, Edith Amayo, said she couldn’t salvage any of her wares as her shop was completely burnt.
She appealed to the government and well-meaning Nigerians to provide assistance.
Another trader, Habib, who deals in cosmetics, said she lost goods worth millions of naira.
According to her, immediately they opened the market last week, I decided to stock my shops. Sadly, I have lost the only thing that I use to feed my family.
“The fire consumed all my wares. I do not have anything in my store,” she said.