At least 90 shops and offices were razed in the fire outbreak that occurred at Kairo market in Oshodi, Lagos, on Thursday night, destroying goods worth millions of naira.
The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) attributed the fire incident to ”some form of explosives and accelerants” used by unknown individuals.
When PREMIUM TIMES visited the scene on Friday morning, scores of traders gathered at the entrance of the market, counting their losses and lamenting the disaster.
Kairo market is a popular textile market within the Oshodi market, a home of textile wholesalers and retailers.
The fire incident razed one part of the market, with several other shops spared due to the intervention of firefighters.
In a statement by the Director-General of LASEMA, Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, “initial investigations suggest that some form of explosives/ accelerants were used; indicating some foul play.”
The LASEMA boss added that firefighters from the agency were exposed to violence at the incident scene, and equipment of the agency were damaged.
“Members of the public sabotaged our efforts by cutting our hoses in the middle to save their individual shops which affected the overall efforts of our personnel and damage to our equipment.
“Some members of our team were attacked with several sustaining injuries that required medical attention,” Mr Oke-Osanyintolu said.
Meanwhile, emergency responders still at the scene of the incident shut both entrances into the market as recovery operations were still going on.
A fabric seller at the market, who identified herself as Alhaja Rashidat, said the fire started some minutes to 8 p.m. on Thursday.
“Everybody had already gone home, those that were around explained that they heard an explosive sound and the fire started.
“We saw one of the containers of the thing they threw to start the fire when we came this morning. We don’t know whether it was bomb or they wrapped something in the container.”
Although the trader’s shop was not affected in the incident, she said she knew people whose shops were completely razed.
“The owner of the shop at the corner just bought goods worth (N)15 million two days ago because of EID celebration. Her shop was completely burnt, she even had some money inside,” she said, pointing at the carcass of the shop.
PREMIUM TIMES could not find shop owners who were affected by the incident at the scene on Friday morning.
A witness to the incident, Ibrahim Bala said the fire started “suddenly” after many of the traders had gone home.
“Usually, the market close at 6, many of them have gone home but some of us were in the market when the fire started. It started quickly and we saw smoke all over,” he said.
Mr Bala said none of them could move near the fire because it was “huge.”
“Some people that have their shops far away climb the fence and fence and started packing some of their goods, but it was only small they could pack before the fire started spreading,” he said.
Mr Bala estimated about 100 shops burnt in the fire incident.
Other traders who commented said electricity is shut down at the market at 6 p.m. every day ”and there was no way the fire could have been from electrical surge”.
“For years, we have never had light in the market at night. They take it once it is 6’ o clock and won’t bring it back till the following day. That is what the Nepa people have been doing that for years. This fire was set up by bad people,” another trader said.
Meanwhile, LASEMA said it has informed relevant authorities including the Nigeria Police to carry out further investigations on the fire incident.
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