Tunde Omolehin, Sokoto
A popular old market in Sokoto State was on Monday razed down by fire, affecting no fewer than sixteen shops within the complex.
The incident, according to an eyewitness account, happened at around 11 pm on Monday and lasted for 3 hours before officials of the State Fire Service put out the fire.
The Chairman of the market, Alhaji Almustapha, while speaking with reporters in Sokoto, said goods worth hundred million naira were damaged in the blaze.
He commended the men of the state fire service for their quick response, however, saying the situation could have been worse than what happened.
Almustapha, an owner of the affected shops, disclosed that sixteen shops containing goods like rice, groundnut oil, vegetable oil and other food items, were razed in the incident.
He called on the state government to come to the aid of the victims, saying some of them have no other means to feed their families apart from their shops.
Also speaking, Mr Mustapha Abubakar, the Head of Operation, Sokoto Fire Service, confirmed the incident, adding that a proper investigation will be launched to ascertain the cause of the fire outbreak.
He cautioned members of the public against late reporting of fire incidents while advising against blocking the movement of fire fighting equipment during such incidents.
He also warned against engaging the inferno before informing the fire service, saying that the situation usually leads to the escalation of the flames before the arrival of the firefighters.
Meanwhile, the Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has sent his condolence message to the affected traders.
Speaking through his Deputy, Hon Manir Muhammad Dan’iya, in a statement, Tambuwal called on the security agencies to secure all affected areas to prevent hoodlums from taking advantage of the incident.
He called on the traders to take the unfortunate incident as an act of God and spoke against the reoccurrence of such bad incidents in the state.