By Stanley Onyekwere
Fierce fire yesterday gutted and destroyed goods and property worth millions of Naira, at the popular community market in Karmo, a densely populated suburb area of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
It was gathered that the fire, which broke at a about 1 o’clock early Thursday morning, razed down a whole section of the informal market, wrecking shops and variety of goods stored therein.
Eyewitness accounts have it that it took the timely intervention of emergency response team from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Nigeria Fire Service Commission, and other security agencies to stop the inferno from spreading to houses in the area.
On a visit to the scene, victims were seen discussing in clusters, as they lost everything to the fire. Also, security and rescue officials cordoned the area, to enable them clear the place of any mortal danger.
According to the Director General, of FCT Emergency Management Department, Idriss Abbass, after receiving a distress call around 1 am, informing him of the fire outbreak in the market, fire service operatives were alerted and immediately mobilised to quench the raging inferno.
Abbass added that the the Department called out law enforcement agencies to the scene, to avoid looting there.
He however, failed to disclose the cause of the fire, saying the priority was to contain the fire from spreading further into other areas.
Meanwhile, the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello led a high powered delegation on a sympathy visit to the market.
In the entourage of the Minister were top FCTA officials, Chairman, Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Abdullahi Adamu Candido, AMAC councillors and NEMA DG, Mustapha.
The minister while addressing the affected traders, said FCTA and NEMA are going to sit down together to see what immediate help they can tender to them, to cushion the effect of the incident.
“The entire FCT administration is here to express or sympathy for the fire incident. I want to use the opportunity to thank all the relevant agencies for their prompt response.
“This administration has been considering an upgrade of the market and it would in such a way that even of there is fire, it would only affect a small area where the fire started,” he stated.
Similarly, AMAC Chairman, who described the incident as unfortunate, assured them of the Council’s readiness to solicit palliative measures for them.
He declared AMAC’s commitment to partner with the FCTA on the upgrade of the informal market and others within the Council.
On his part, Sarkin Jiwa, Idris Musa, attributed high degree of loss incurred by the traders to the poor nature of the market.
He called on the government to offer assistance to the affected traders, to cope with the situation.