The Sokoto Central Market was on Tuesday gutted by fire, which destroyed an unascertained amount of goods.
The cause of the incident was still unknown but a fire fighter on conditions of anonymity said it could have been caused by a generating set.
The fire was said to have started from Kofar Yan Roba before engulfing the entire market.
The fire was said to have started around 7 am and was still raging as at 5 pm despite the sustained efforts of men of the federal and state fire service to put it off.
Our reporter who visited the market observed some of the traders whose shops were yet to be torched, evacuating their goods.
However, security operatives were seen collating the details of the traders before allowing them to pass with their goods.
This according to one of the police officers was to checkmate looters.
One of the affected traders who spoke to Daily Trust, Jamilu Bawa, said he could not remove anything from his cosmetic shop.
“I have tried to remove even the N450,000 I kept inside but to no avail because the fire was razing rapidly,” he said.
Bawa added that he and his brother who was selling Islamic medicines lost goods worth seven million to the fire.
Another trader, Alhaji Inuwa who was said to have lost all his shops, said “I cannot talk now because I am devastated. All these places were my shops and they have all gone.”
Some of the traders, however, likened the fire to the one experienced in 2006, which was said to have destroyed the entire market.
The Deputy Governor of Sokoto State, Manir Dan’iya who was among the early callers, said the situation could not be described because the fire was everywhere.
“But we are doing all we can to handle the situation. I spoke with the governor and he directed us to make sure this calamity is brought to an end,” he said.
The Special Adviser to Governor Tambuwal in charge of the Sokoto Urban and Regional Planning Board, Sidi Aliyu Lamido attributed the reoccurring market inferno in the state to the failure of market leaders and traders to do the right thing.
“The leaders allow the marketers to do as they wish and this resulted in the distortion of the master plan as shops are erected indiscriminately. This is making it very difficult for fighter fighting machines to reach out to places engulfed by inferno.
“There was also indiscriminate usage of generating sets, which is another factor causing fire incident in our market. I am sure, His Excellency (Governor Tambuwal) will ensure something is done about this so that to forestall future incidence,” he said.
Bagudu donates N30m to victims
Meanwhile, Governor Aminu Tambuwal has constituted a committee to bring down the inferno as well as ascertain the cause and losses incurred by the marketers.
Tambuwal who visited the scene sympathised with the victims and assured them of more efforts to bring the situation under control.
“It is a very sad development, we appeal to the general public, particularly those who are owners of shops and having investment in the market to remain calm as the government is doing everything humanly possible to bring the fire under control.
“We must not do anything that will give an opportunity to hoodlums to go into the market and have the advantage of the situation to steal people’s assets.
“I am appealing we should continue to pray, as we have marshalled all the services of fire-fighting equipment available in the state to control the situation,” he said.
Similarly, Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State has donated the sum of N30 m to victims of the fire disaster.
While sympathising with them, he said the incident was a great loss to the people of Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara State.