About 90 shops were on Monday burnt in a major market in Yola, the capital of Adamawa State and property worth billions of naira were destroyed by the inferno on Monday.
Some eyewitnesses, who were at the scene, told the Punch that the fire started at about 2.30 am.
They said the initial effort to put out the fire was unsuccessful because fire fighters could not get to the market because of lack of access road to the market.
The Executive Secretary, Adamawa State Emergency Management Agency, Mr. Haruna Hammanfuro, who confirmed the incident in Yola, explained that the fire incident was the worst of its kind in the history of the market.
Hammanfuro, however, affirmed that they had yet to quantify the extent of damage done by the fire incident. But he said no life was lost.
The Chairman, Adamawa Traders Association, Alhaji Ibrahim Mohammad, appealed to federal, state and local governments to come to the traders’ aid, noting that they lost 90 per cent of their shops to the inferno.
The state Deputy Governor, Martins Babale, who was among the early callers to the market, said the government would assess the extent of damage with a view to knowing the level of support it would give the traders.
Babale urged NEMA, corporate organisations and wealthy individuals to come to the aid of the traders with a view to cushioning the impact of the damage on their businesses.
Narrating his ordeal a shop owner, Mallam Babayola Maijimilla, whose shop was also burnt, said, “The fire started around the middle of the market and efforts by sympathisers to extinguish it was rebuffed by security operatives who denied them access into the market to prevent hoodlums from looting our wares.”
He added that the arrival of men of the state fire service did not help matters because they could not get to the scene of the fire incident because of lack of access road.
Some of the affected shop owners, explained that they had lost all their wares and live savings to the inferno. They appealed to the state government to assist them.
While commenting on the incident, the Adamawa State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ghazzali Mohammed, said he deployed a number of his men to provide security and prevent hoodlums from looting the traders’ belongings.
He added that the decision had paid off as a number of the hoodlums had been arrested.