*CSO: I got report of fire incident at home
Mrs Blacky Omoregie, the leader of market Women Association in Edo State says ancestors who set Oba market the midnight fire on Sunday in Benin City will have the ancestors of the land to contend with.
She disclosed this while narrating her ordeal on Monday morning.
Mrs Omoregie revealed that while stock worth millions of Naira were consumed in the inferno which completely burnt the down and top floors of Amboga Complex.
Another eye witness who identified herself simply as Madam Mary, suspected a case of arson.
She noted that “for three months, the market was closed due to Covid-19, there was no incident of fire outbreak at the market.
“Those people who set these market on fire, we have the ancestors to contend with. I arrived the market at 1am on Monday morning from my house.
“I was told that the fire started at about 11p.m on Sunday night. It was out out at about 4 ‘o Clock the following day.
“The firemen said their vehicle is faulty and that they do not have water.
“We had to call the Division Police Officer in charge of Oba market.
“The DPO tried very well. We contacted Government house that night to help us to out out the fire, she said.
“There is no light in that market, so where did the fire came from?”, she quarried.
But, the Chief Security Officer of the market (name withheld), alleged that he received a distressed report of the fire via the telephone while he was at home.
He said he asked his “boys to take charge to hold his brief when he became indisposed and promised to return back before incident occurred.
Meanwhile, Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki has set up an investigative Committee to look into the remote cause of the fire incident.
He added that the Committee’s report will help guide against speculations about the cause of fire outbreak.
Governor Obaseki who sympathised with those affected by the fire incident when he visited the market to ascertain the level of damage done, said the Committee has ten days to file its report.
The incident is a blow to victims who are yet to come to terms with their loss as goods worth millions of Naira was lost to the fire incident.
The traders decried the sad incident and appealed to the State Government for help.
The Committee is made up of the Nigeria police, Directorate of State Service (DSS), Federal and State Fire Services, Oredo Local Council Chairman, and State Government Officials.
Earlier, the Chairman of Oredo Local Government Area of the State, Mr Jenkins Evbareke Osunde who paid on-the-spot assessment to the market on Monday morning, suspected a case of arson.
Osunde who sympathized with the affected traders, however thank God that no life was lost in the disaster.
TheNewsoad had reported that traders returned to the market last week after three months relocation to selected public schools compounds in the State for fumigation and decontamination by the State Government in a bid to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Men of the Federal Fire Service Zone K tweeted, “At about 1:00hrs this morning Men of Federal Fire Service Zone K Edo command turned out to combat a raging inferno at Oba market ring road Benin City Edo State. In attendance are Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air force, NPDC, and UNIBEN fire service.”
In December last year, part of Osa market in Oredo Local Government Area was burnt in December last year by suspected arsonists.
Governor, Obaseki, accused political dissent of been responsible for incessant fire outbreaks in the State to discredit his administration.
He however announced the sum of N100 million (One Hundred Million) compensation to the traders.
The traders are yet to get the money after they were asked to compiled a list of the items that were consumed in the inferno and submitted their bank details to the Management of Sterling Bank Plc for evaluation and payment.