Over half a billion naira of goods and properties perished yesterday, as a night fire ravaged the popular Sabo market in Sagamu, Ogun State.
Many traders were in tears, as they lamented their losses.
The fire started around 2am in one of the locked-up shops, following suspected power surge when a power distribution company restored electricity to the Sabo area. The harmattan breeze helped the fire to spread.
There were sounds of explosions from different locations within the market, believed to have emanated from generators, gas cylinders and grinding machines.
Over 300 stalls were razed by the inferno.
Governor Dapo Abiodun, who had just returned from a working trip to the United Kingdom, visited the market and assessed the extent of damage.
The governor pledged to enumerate the losses and consider immediate relief measures for the victims.
The Nation was told of a son of one of the traders, who was said to have dared the fire, plunging himself into it to retrieve his mother’s N10million kept inside a freezer in her stall, but the boy was said to have collapsed after the risky act and he was rushed to the hospital.
Firefighters, who raced to the scene on the instruction of Governor Dapo Abiodun, were reported to have arrived the market at about 4 am with insufficient water to put out the raging inferno.
The fire, which raged on for over three hours, was eventually put out through the combined efforts of firefighters from Ijebu-Ode, Sagamu, Abeokuta and Babcock University, Ilisan Remo.
But before the arrival of the firefighters, residents of the area and some of the traders, who responded to distress calls, attacked the fire with bowls of water and in the process, were able to salvage some of the stalls.
One of the affected traders, Mrs. Bolatito Odubanjo, said she lost goods worth over N2million to the fire, while Mrs. Sola Ekundayo also said she lost goods worth over N300,000.
Odubanjo recalled that she suffered a similar fate in 1998, lamenting that the latest incident would be difficult to bear.
She appealed to the government to assist them.
The Chairman, Akarigbo-in-Council, who is also the custodian of the market, Chief Abibu Oyenuga, said he got to know of the fire at about 3 am.
He lamented that goods and properties worth millions of naira perished in the inferno.
Oyenuga appealed to the Governor Abiodun administration to help reconstruct the perimeter fence destroyed by the inferno as a matter of urgency, so as to secure the stalls that survived the fire.
The Iyalaje of Sabo market, Mrs. Idayatu Lasisi, appealed to the government to provide the victims with relief materials, saying the havoc wreaked by the fire was massive.
Femi Ajayi, a guard at the market, said he and others used sachet (pure) water to combat the fire before the arrival of fire fighters.
Ogun State Fire Service Director Fatai Adefala told reporters that the fire affected 160 shops comprising 120 open stalls and 40 lock- up shops.