Goods and drugs worth more than N300 million naira were lost to an early morning fire which occurred at Ijomu area of Akure, the Ondo State capital on Sunday.
The fire affected no fewer than 10 entrepreneurs whose shops and medicine store were located in the area.
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One of the victims, simply identified as Alhaji, is currently on admission in a private hospital having experienced heart attack when he saw his two medicine stores engulfed by fire.
Alhaji is the owner of Choices Medicine and Supermarket Stores at No. 20 Ijomu Street, Akure, Akure South Local Government Area of the state, was said to have just off loaded two trucks load of drugs into his two stores in the same complex on Saturday night.
Other occupants of the complex are dealers, fashion designers, electrical and electronics dealers.
Mrs. Modupe Daramola, a fashion designer in the complex, lost three industrial sewing and embroidery machines and four sewing machines to the fire.
She disclosed that she also lost a heavy duty power generating set and a refrigerator to the inferno besides several fabrics belonging to her numerous customers.
One of the youth leaders in the area, Sola Omorege said it took their efforts to put out the fire, though the could not rescue any of the items in the complex.
He lamented that the fire service in the state couldn’t help when they went to their office on a motorbike due to lack of functional equipment.
Folabi Fayehun, the Edemo of Akure kingdom, told our correspondent that he contacted the Akure fire service through a firefighter in Ilesa, but they complained that they had no functional fire equipment and could not help.
He also contacted the Akure Airport Fire Service but was told it was out of their jurisdiction except the governor requested for their service.
The chief lamented loss of several millions of naira worth of goods and property to fire in due to the unavailability of fire fighting equipment.
Chief Edemo, who received the governorship candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the October 10 election in the state, Mr Eyitayo Jegede, when he came to inspect the scene of the incident and sympathise with the victims, disclosed that it was the youth and residents of the area who scooped water from the blocked drainage to put out the fire.
Condemning the lackadaisical attitude of the state government to the series of fire incidents in the state, Chief Fayehun said: “It’s supposed to be a case of once bitten twice shy.
“When we experienced this kind of incident at Oba Nla in the next street a couple of months ago, the governor was there. I think there’s need for the government to have a fire fighting equipment on ground because this is becoming a recurrent situation where people are losing multimillion naira worth of goods and property that’s hampering the economy of the state.
“This is supposed to be social service that government should render to the populace.
“When I was talking to the member of the state House of Assembly representing this constituency IV, he said it was the government that should send that kind of bill to the House and it would be approved. I then asked why he couldn’t send it to the House himself.
“Eventually if this kind of equipment is approved for the use of the people, it is not going to be the state capital alone that will benefit.
“If the governor appropriates about N600 million to fight fire incident in the state, it’s not going to be too much”.