By FRED ITUA
On Thursday, 30th November, traders at Karmo Market in the nation’s capital, lost goods worth million of naira to an inferno which started before traders resumed for the day.
Residents as well as shop owners claimed that they were woken up at about 12.30 am by the screams of people that saw heavy smoke billowing from the market.
A shop owner said the incident took many of them unaware. She narrated how she lost her drinks and other consumables.
Another distributor said he lost good worth over N5 million. According to him, not much was recovered as at the time he arrived at the market.
The immediate cause of the fire, which lasted for more than six hours, was yet to be ascertained as at the time of filing in this report. Traders could not immediately put a figure to the worth of goods lost to the inferno.
Controller of Abuja Fire Service, Mr. Julius Opetunsin confirmed the incident.
“We received a call at about 2am about the fire and we turned out three fire appliances from National Judicial Institute, Wuye and Gwarinpa. And we also turned out a 10,000 litres water tanker as back up.
“No life was lost and no one was injured. The cause of the fire can’t be ascertained yet,” he said.
Karmo market is located in a slum, few kilometers away from Abuja’s city centre.
Meanwhile, FCT Minister, Muhammad Musa Bello has promised the victims that the administration will work with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Abuja Municipal Area Council to implement measures that would bring succour to the victims.
Bello lamented that the fire had come at the time the administration was considering plans to upgrade the market and similar others located around the city to make them safer and modern. This, he noted, is because the state of these markets is inconsistent with the ideals of a modern city and would naturally hinder safety operations during emergencies.
He praised the rescue team which comprised NEMA, FEMA – the FCT emergency agency) and the Navy fireteams for their prompt response and the professional manner with which they isolated region of inferno to save a larger portion of the market. The Minister expressed delight that the outbreak did not happen in the daytime when the traffic condition of the road would have significantly hampered the movement of fire-fighting machines and logistics.
The Director-General of the NEMA, Mustapha Maihaja described the development as sad and harped on the need to embrace measures that stop fires or prevent them from escalating. He said people have a responsibility to follow the rules and regulations that guide conducts that limit or eliminate this kind of occurrences.
The Chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council, Mr. Adamu Abdulahi Candido, indicated that the Area Council has appealed for the return of the market to the community to enable the Area Council work with the community to upgrade it. He noted that the last administration had taken over the market but implored that the market should be reallocated to the community as, according to him, “it is not good that community should be without an own market.”