Abia State Government has urged traders and other market users to be more careful in handling electrical appliances and explosives, especially during the harmattan season fire.
The Government decried incessant fire outbreaks in markets in Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State following the fire incidents that occurred at the Asa Nnetu Spare Parts market which razed down a section of the market and destroyed motor engines and other motor spare parts estimated at ₦500 million.
New Telegraph reports that another fire incident occurred at C Line of Ariaria International Market on Saturday, where two packing shops with goods worth millions of Naira were destroyed.
A delegation from the State Government led, by Chimezie Ukaegbu, Commissioner for Trade, Commerce and Industry, who were in the markets Monday, to sympathize with the affected traders, promised to partner with market leaders to find lasting solutions to fire outbreaks in the markets.
Other members of the delegation were Uche Ukeje, general manager, of Greater Aba Development Authority, John Udeagbala, mayor of Aba North Local Government Area, and Nodike Ihediaba, mayor of Ugwunagbo Local Government Area of the State.
The Commissioner of Trade, Commerce and Industry, who expressed shock at the huge loss incurred by the traders, due to the fire incidences, said that they were sent by Governor Alex Otti, to sympathize with the victims of the fire and ascertain its cause, to enable Government to put measures in place to avert reoccurrence.
“We have seen it and we sympathize with you people and it’s good that we have gotten a first-hand assessment of what happened.
We will report all that we have seen to the Governor.”
He said that the purpose of the visit was not only to have a view of the damage but also to find a way to avert future occurrences.
“We need to be more proactive, it is disheartening to continue to witness this kind of incident, we sympathize with you people and don’t want this kind of a thing to happen again.
He appealed to the traders at Asa Nnetu to clear bushes around the market and urged those involved in bush burning to stop forthwith, especially during this dry season.
“You should also remove things that can ignite a fire, especially explosive devices from the markets.
He promised that the team would report their findings to the Governor for action.
Uche Ukeje, Managing Director of Greater Aba Development Authority (GADA), described the development as disheartening and urged the leadership of the market to sensitise their members on the dangers of fire and how to avert it.
According to him, a trader at Asa Nnetu lost two container loads of new motor spare parts worth millions of Naira.
He appealed to the traders to switch off their electrical appliances at the close of business each day, to avoid fire outbreaks.
John Udeagbala, Mayor, Aba North Local Government Area said that his administration will partner with the market leaders to fashion out a new approach to fire prevention in all the markets in the locality.
“It must commence from tomorrow. We don’t want to come here again, because of the fire incident.
Ozoekwe Chiwendu, chairman, Ariaria International Market Traders Association, in his response, thanked Governor Alex Otti for his quick response to their plight and promised that his team and all traders Inn the market will cooperate with the State Government to find an end to fire outbreaks in the market.
A victim, Mr Godwin Moses, a Volkswagen spare parts dealer, whose four shops situated at H61, H62, H63, and H64 were completely razed down with goods worth over ₦50 million destroyed, appealed to the State Government for financial assistance to resume his business.
Moses, who said that he was informed about the fire at about 4.00 pm, Sunday, stated that he could not remove anything from his shops, when he arrived, as the entire building, housing his shops and all the goods inside it was already lost to the fire.
Another victim, Mr Hygenus Adonike, managing director, Sabisam Motors Nigeria Limited, said it is going to be a bleak Christmas for him and others affected by the fire.
He explained that five shops in his section of the market lost not less than ₦200 million to the inferno.
Source: New Telegraph