By Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin
Bleak Christmas awaits traders in Edo State, following the Sunday morning fire that engulfed popular Ekiosa market on Murtala Mohammed Way in Benin.
Over 500 goats and stock worth millions of Naira were allegedly roasted in the inferno which began at 11’ o ‘clock around the area where livestock are sold.
It was gathered that the first floor of Edo Development and Property Agency (EDPA) building near the market was not spared in the blaze while several shops were razed in the inferno.
Helpless shop owners and passerby laboured in vain in attempt to salvage goods in the inferno whose cause, is yet-to-be ascertained as at the time of filing this report.
Mr Damian Lawani, the State Commissioner for youths and Sports, said angry youths pelted fire fighters who attempted to put out the fire with stones.
He alleged that the fire fighters retreated were prevented by the youths for “late coming”.
Lawani condemned the action of the youths, assuring that the government will not abandon those who suffer loss in the inferno.
A shop owner, identified as Mama Aimieghomwan who wept uncontrollably at the sight of the fire, said she lost her stock in three shops to the blaze.
A concern Nigerian, a fruit seller, described the fire outbreak as “unfortunate and highly embarrassing”.
“Since 11: O clock when the fire began, no rescue. This is not a Country. It is a shame”, she said.
Checks by our Correspondent revealed that soldiers and anti-riot policemen have been deployed to the scene apparently to prevent hoodlums from looting shops.
Over fire markets and shopping Mall had been razed by fire in Benin in the last six months.
The affected markets include Automobile Spare parts market at Uwelu, Santana market on Sapele road in Benin City.
The development has heightened tension in the area while traffic around MM way and adjoining Streets have convulsed.