An early morning inferno yesterday razed shops, with goods worth millions at the Abakpa main market in Abakaliki.
It was gathered that the fire, which started at about 3am, destroyed over 16 shops, most of them electrical shops, and warehouses behind the building. Also affected were shops housing curtain dealers.
One of the victims, Aaron Onuorah, said the fire took everybody by surprise. He lamented his loss of over N6 million worth of goods.
“Before I realised what was happening, the fire burnt so fast and I couldn’t salvage anything. The goods I was able to save were also affected; the goods worth over N6 million.”
Another victim, Mr. Stanley Ngwu, expressed shock at the outbreak. He ruled out electricity spark as a cause because according to him, the shops were not connected to the grid and neigbours confirmed that there was no power at the time.
“I can’t explain the fire because there was no power supply. People were able to salvage few of their goods but I lost most of my curtains in bundles, rods, rays and other items, though I still need to check.”
Mr. Nnanna Edu lamented: “We don’t use NEPA light here; I have N220,000 cash in the shop with rolls of curtains, rods, rolls of carpets, curtain rays. Fire outbreak is becoming a culture in the state, the government should investigate this as it’s not ordinary.”
Efforts to speak with the Director of Fire Service, Mr. James Onwo, were not successful. But one of the fire fighters, who pleaded for anonymity, said they are yet to ascertain the cause of the fire.