By Stanley Onyekwere
No fewer than 39 shops and furniture worth over N21 million were destroyed by fire at the city furniture area of the popular Kugbo Furniture market, in Abuja.
Some of the affected artisans mainly furniture makers at the market are now counting their loses, in the aftermath of the devastating inferno.
According to them, they were taken aback by the incident, as they were only called about 12 am by the private guards on duty and informed about the incident.
PeoplesDaily gathered that it took the intervention of fire fighters and sympathisers who mounted rescue efforts on taming the raging fire.
Narrating the fire ordeal, Chairman of the city furniture area, Austin Onuh, who is also a victim, said the incident occurred late at Sunday night into early hours of yesterday when all the shop owners had closed after their work on Saturday.
He regretted that most of the furniture burnt were given to them on contract by their customers.
“We are yet to determine the cause of the inferno but furniture worth over N 21 million naira have been burnt by the fire.
“Some of us here just returned from Christmas and new year celebrations, and started work that our custmers gave us, but this morning we only came to see ashes”, he said.
Onuh however made a passion appeal to FCT Administration, spirited individuals and corporate organisations to support them.
He also called on the government to help the furniture makers provide measures that will prevent fire incident in the area.
Not left out, one of the affected furniture makers, Timothy Eze, who described the incident as unfortunate and devastating incident, claimed that he has lost not less than 8 million Naira worth of furniture and equipment in his shop.
In particular, Mr. Eze said:
“Apart from the furniture, industrial machine, generators with several working equipment that worth millions were also burnt.”
Similarly, another victim who was seen at the scene, Vincent Ngutsen, said over N 7 million finished and unfinished furniture were burnt in his shop located at the same area.
According to him, despite efforts by the people around the area and the fire fighters, they were not able to salvage wares from the raging fire.
Recall that fire disasters are unusually high during the harmattan season, and recently in an attempt to forestall such occurrence, the FCT Fire Service intensified enlightenment of residents on basic fire safety measures.
The Fire Service reiterated that the rate of fire outbreak during harmattan is very high than in the rainy season.
According to the Director, FCT Fire Service, Mr. Opetunsin Julius the spate of fire disaster, not only in the nation’s capital, but across the country was alarming and needed some proactive measures to prevent it.