Fire Guts Maiduguri, Offa Markets
AS Maiduguri residents and motorists continued to grapple with a two-day 24- hour curfew, thei Global System of Mobile Communication (GSM) market in the city was gutted by fire, destroying 14 shops with tens of thousands of handsets, laptops and other mobile phone accessories, in the early hours of Friday.
Other property destroyed in the inferno; included 41 other market stalls, located in the eastern flank of the GSM market on Shehu Laminu Way, Maiduguri.
The cause of the fire was yet to be ascertained by the police and Maiduguri Monday Market (MMM) authority. According to Babagana Kashim, a shop owner and victim of the inferno, the fire incident commenced late in the night, the second day of curfew, when many of the shops owners were in their houses.
“The soldiers stationed near the GSM market and Post Office Areas, noticed a strange fire and plumes of thick smoke billowing into the sky, before they alerted Fire Servicemen from six organisations, including the military and University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) to put off the fire,” said Kashim yesterday.
He added that the fire servicemen prevented the fire from spreading to other shops and the state owned radio station, Borno State Radio Television (BRTV). “
Over half of the other side of the second gate near BRTV premises was completely raised down; while debris and ashes were the only things found this morning when the shops and stalls operators and owners were intimated on yesterday’s incident,” explained Kashim.
According to him, properties worth hundreds of millions of naira were destroyed in the inferno; while cash worth millions of naira were also lost in the inferno.
In Ofa, Kwara State, goods worth millions of naira were yesterday gutted by fire at the ancient Owode market The strange fire started around 1am on Saturday and ravaged for the next three hours, defying all attempts by men of the local fire brigade services at putting it out.
Owode market, a commercial nerve centre of the business in Offa, is patronised across Nigeria. It is operated daily and deep into the night. The textile, jeweleries, and provisions’ sections of the market were the worst hit, but no life was lost in the unfortunate disaster.