The recent fire incident that razed the popular Namu Central Yam Market in Qua’anpan Local Government Area of Plateau State has continued to generate reactions in several quarters, with the latest being fears by the traders, farmers and other stakeholders that the incident could lead to yam seeds shortage this farming season.
Namu Yam Market is known for quality yams and seedlings not only in Plateau State but across the country. The market is a major supplier of both yams for immediate consumption as well as seedlings for planting.
Now, people are afraid that the fire which destroyed goods, food stuffs and other properties/valuables worth millions of naira, may equally cause food shortage crisis if nothing was done to address the loss.
The cause of the fire was linked to a spark from a grinding engine in the market, and before people could put the fire under control, it spread and destroyed most of the yams.
The dry grasses used to preserve yam heaps at the market made it easy for the fire to rage quickly and spread widely. In effect, hundreds of farmers and traders were affected by the fire outbreak and are presently counting their losses.
Those who lost their goods/properties to the fire incident have called on governments at all levels to come to their aid so that they can at least recover from their loss and get back to business in order to ensure food sustainability.
His Royal Highness, the Long Jan of Namu Chiefdom, Miskoom Safiyanu Suleiman Allahnana Magaji, said goods lost to the fire are worth over N200m and if urgent steps were not taking, the loss will not be on the affected farmers/traders alone but on the nation generally.
He said the responses from different quarters and the show of love from people across the nation, as well as the state governor, Simon Lalong, was commendable and that it has stimulated the moral of the victims.
He called for caution on the part of those who are trying to politicize the incident, saying that everything must not be politicized, and that such is inimical to the quick recovery of the victims who are so far united in grief.
The chairman of the Yam Market, Monday Bwall, said they were still in shock over the incident, and that it has not been an easy task consoling those who lost their goods.
He said the fire was so severe that even the trees in the market were burnt and have dried up, adding that the yams were badly burnt while the heat on those not directly affected has equally made them useless.
On his part, Dayyib Zachariah Adam, who is the Chairman of Farmers Association in Gengere Ward of Jos, Plateau State, said since after the incidence, yam farmers have been expressing fear over poor farming season and by extension yam shortage.
He said any assistance/intervention from any quarter should be now because the rainy/planting season was about to commence, and if there’s any delay, the farmers who get seedlings from the market would be stranded and not have anything to plant.
He, however, said that the foremost encouraging factor is that the lands around the area remain fertile and many plants/crops, as well as yams, have the potential of germinating at any given time.
In his remarks, the member representing Shendam/Quan’Pan/Mikang federal constituency of Plateau State, Hon Alphonsus Komsol, said they would do all it takes to assist the victims.
He said they would partner with necessary government agencies, non-governmental organizations and good-spirited individuals to garner support for the victims in order to prevent any food crisis the fire incident could cause.
Reacting to the incident, Senator representing Plateau South Senatorial Zone, Professor Nora Dadu’ut, commiserated with those who lost goods/properties, and the entire Namu community over the sad incident.
She prayed for the quick revival of the victims’ spirit so that they can continue their struggle.
The senator also called on government and other charitable Nigerians to offer support for the victims in order to expedite their recovery from the tragedy.