Fire guts Onitsha market


… Security men on the run


There was pandemonium in the Ogbosisi section of the Bridgehead Market in the commercial city of Onitsha gutted by fire on Wednesday night, even as traders accused the local vigilance group and past executive of the market of complicity. Daily Sun gathered that the fire started in the late hours of Wednesday after the traders had closed their shops leaving the market under the care of the members of the vigilance group. One of the victims, Mr. Michael Okoye, said the news of the inferno got to them in the early hours of yesterday, adding that before he could rush to the market, his shop and goods including cash had been consumed by the inferno.

He said: “I just got a contract yesterday and the money paid for it was among the cash that got burnt in this shop. Also my goods that I offloaded just yesterday were all gone with the fire.

I also had a giant machine that cuts woods into sizes which was also burnt, in fact I lost over N100 million to this fire.” Mrs. Maria Olikeze also said she lost everything to the inferno while calling on the state government to come to her aid and save her entire family from starvation that would follow the fire incident. She, however, said the cause of the inferno still remained a mystery.

The President General of the Onitsha Bridgehead Traders Association, Mr. Emeka Ilonze, said though the actual cause of the inferno was unknown, the action of the members of the vigilance group in the market had called for suspicion, adding that the cause of the fire was not due to electrical fault. Ilonze, while taking the Chairman of Onitsha South Council Area, Mr. Ugochukwu Ezeani, round the burnt market, dismissed the rumour that the cause of the fire was electrical fault, adding, “there is no way it could be caused by machine or electrical fault, though for now, only God and the security men knew what caused this fire disaster.”

He said the Wednesday’s incident was not the first time such calamity would happen at the Ogbosisi market, cabinet section but said the market got burnt in January 2010 under such mysterious circumstances and urged the security agencies to unravel the true cause of the inferno while commending the fire service for responding on time. “I have been here since 3 a.m. when I got information that this market was on fire again, I called the police and also called the fire service, they responded and on time too.

That was why the fire could not escalate to the entire Bridgehead market, I must tell you, several millions of naira and equipment have been lost to the inferno,” he said. The Transition Committee Chairman of Onitsha South Council Area, Mr. Ugochukwu Ezeani, expressed sadness at the level of damage caused by the inferno and urged the traders to remain calm till investigations into the cause of the incident were concluded.

He said the state government would make sure that the security agencies fish out the perpetrators of the dastardly act and also investigate the allegation of the involvement of the members of the local vigilance group in the inferno. However, Daily Sun gathered that the four security men in charge of the market were at large when the traders trooped out to demonstrate which had further threw confusion over the alleged mastermind of the fire incident.

When contacted, the Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Ralph Uzoigwe, confirmed the incident and said investigations were ongoing to unravel the circumstances surrounding the inferno and the alleged culpability of the vigilance group members.

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  1. Why should they steal and burn peaple life efforts at the same time,death penalty must be used to serve as deterent.but pls be careful 2 avoid killing d innocent.but those whe claims innocent must cooperate with investigations.

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  4. The news is not a good one at all. The Vigilance group should held responsible,they are in a better position to give account of how it happend. So patetic!

  5. Sorry. It is all about insecurity in nigeria asuming that d vigilat are alart dis would’t hav happn. It is very sad, the vitims will start afresh nawaoo!!!!! that is life.

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  7. Al d diabolical means of dis biz pple fit cause me.whu wll go nw 2 find out d cause? Whn dem knw alredy.only d problem is who fit com out say d truth?abegggg joor

  8. Dis lyf nawaooo!!! Wen 9ja go beta? Hw can a dog eat the bone under its security? I no fit shout 4 dose vigilant groups as wel as d four security men in charge. Hold dem!!!!!!

  9. when will igbo leaders stop behaving like fools and start tapping into the great talent in igbo trading? Trade is what makes nations rich. The western nations became rich through trading.

    These fools called igbo leaders continue to ignore the potential of these traders. They cannot see the great economic potential in providing infrastructure and in supporting these traders. All developed economies depend on trade, not natural resources like crude oil, etc.


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  11. Gov peter, can’t you hel these traders to build a modern market? Onitsha traders have lost a lot in fire incidents and the government is not taking any major to stop future disaster. May God help the victims

  12. This inccident is so bad cuz it rendered some people poor.pls the govt should scrutinize those men,cuz they are the only pple who can give acc of the real story behind the inccident.Again give the investigation to the philosophers to handle,so that through them the true cause can be seen

  13. Those advocating state vigilance group together with state police should see reasons why it is so dangerious for Nigeria to adopt such security measures. Let,s wait and see the out come of this investigations by the authorities.

  14. The truth stands for itself,look at a whole security men messing up,they broke the shops after stealing they put the market on fire, its barbaric act so they have to be dealt with seriously.

  15. Very sad indeed. The timing and the disappeared security men make it very suspicious. I appeal to the victims to take heart and put their trust in God who gave them the businesses. With Faith in God,they will receive double for their trouble just like Job.May God take away all the pains as you all learn to store your real treasures in heaven where neither fire nor thieves can touch them.God bless.


  17. Infact, is sad & downword trend in the side of traders & the nation’s economy. pls govt shld support those traders that are affected & most importantly, build the bridgehead market up to standard level so as to avart the sufering & wasting of humman efforts justly.

  18. Don’t they have Arson investigators to determine what caused the fire. Everybody just speculating. What a confused country tat nothing good ever came out from

  19. Am truly sorry for the plight of these hardworking traders. My suggestion is that they take out insurance for calamities like this. It is really heartbreaking. Ndo nu umu nwanne m

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