By Nancy Adanu
A fire outbreak engulfed the Otukpo Main Market in the early hours of Wednesday.
The fire which engulfed part of the market started at about 5:00 am, and it is the second time in 2020, even as the reconstruction of the part that earlier got burnt this year is still in progress.
The Voice gathered that, fire fighters arrived quite on time, but found it very difficult to penetrate the market, due to lack of access roads to get into the scene of the fire.
Reports indicate that they resolved to improvise and extended their hose to it’s limit and used buckets and gallons available to fetch water from their tank with the help of other security agencies around.
Over sixty five shops were completely burnt down, nothing to take out of it.
The sections of the market affected includes, the whole of Nsukka Line, where they sell cosmetics, cream, hair attachment, wigs; Yoruba Line, where they trade in herbal medicine, rubber slippers, shoes, wears, provision, onions, flour and eggs.
Also, inside the Main Market, behind Nsukka Line and some part of Lagos Line shops got razed.
One of the trader whose shop narrowly escaped the inferno, Mr Moses Onyeka stated that, surprisingly, earlier this year, the Executive Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom visited the same market when it was engulfed by fire to sympathize with the traders and made a donation of fifty million naira for the market to be rebuilt, although the reconstruction part was not affected.
“But it is so annoying to see that, what they are building has no provision for access roads, rather, they still merged the shops together, that two persons can not walk shoulder to shoulder and what is the use of an upstairs in a market where there is no space or road accessibility,” he stated.
Another trader, Mr Nnemeka Ajuka, whose brother’s shop was affected, mentioned that, the continuous fire outbreak in the Otukpo Main Market is a mystery that only God can unfold, querying why a particular market keeps experiencing a serious fire outbreak two to three times every year.
“There is something wrong in this market and I believe that, there are demonic traders that always do such things to achieve their aim, which is to get richer,” he concluded.
A sympathizer at the market square, Mr Johhn Adeka, stated that, he was driving out of his house at about 5:05am and at the New Market road, he sighted the fire, and immediately tried calling Joy Fmy, but the lines were not going through and he tried the emergency line (112) it was not connecting, but within a short time, the fire truck arrived and every effort to get through into the scene of the fire was not possible.
He narrated that the fire fighters eventually resolved to use buckets and gallons to take water to the fire points adding it is quite unfortunate that, the market which is about the major revenue facility in the local government keeps experiencing such a set back.
He assumed that, the cause of the fire may be linked to the poor electrification done by traders and not experts.
He also blamed the market management for not monitoring or supervising the market at quick intervals.
Adeka further stated that, the roads network in the market is the worst of its kind, that one can not drive a pickup van into the market. The road from Emateyi gate to Amusa gate which is supposed to be motorable, is congested.
He urged the Otukpo council boss, George Ali and the market chief, Inalegwu Abonu to restructure the market by creating good access roads and correct all electrical connection that are bad.
He advised that, more security should be engaged, because such outbreak is as a result of insecurity in the market as he recalled that earlier this year, during the lockdown period, effort was made by the council Chairman, to get the part of the market relocated from where it is to another place more spacious, some traders relocated and still returned back.
Mr Adeka who was of the view that, the cause of the fire was an electrical fault prayed to God to replenish the traders affected.
Many that were affected, cried out in pains, some fainted and were taken care of by the health personnel that were on ground.
The Homeland security Commander and his officers were on ground to prevent looters from stealing and breaking other shops, even though, a lot of youths were seen running away with goods and wares.