Again fire razes 300 shops,equipments in Sango Ibadan plank market… Ajimobi orders probe
By; Bayo Akamo, Ibadan
It was another sad day with grim faces and wailing voices as over 300 shops and other items worth millions of naira were again razed at Sango plank market in Ibadan in an early morning inferno about 48 hours after similar inferno in the same market.
In the inferno, no fewer than 50 sawing machines, three vehicles comprising of a truck and two cars were burnt to ashes.
Governor Abiola Ajimobi has declared that Oyo State Government will raise a panel to investigate the circumstances surrounding the fire incidents that razed the plank market twice in three days as tension is rising in the plank market over an insinuation that some people might have allegedly intentionally set the place ablaze to revenge the last Friday fire disaster which razed over 200 plank shops within the market.
Unlike the last Friday fire disaster which affected mostly plank sellers shops, today’s inferno completely burnt down the sawing machines section of the market with no fewer than 100 machines of various kinds burnt.
Sources at the market said the fire was first noticed at about 12am on Monday during which some people were allegedly sighted moving round the burnt areas suspiciously after which the fire spread to other parts of the sawing machines section.
Our correspondent gathered that all efforts by the traders and others who were alerted of the fire incident through the Alaro Central Mosque public address system to put off the raging fire failed.
Sources at the market said all efforts by the traders and the Police team at getting across to the men of the Oyo Ftate Fire Service failed as the plank sellers waited for hours watching helplessly the fire destroying their belongings with no single fire fighting vehicle in sight.
When our Correspondent visited the market in the morning, the traders were seen weeping and wailing with other going through what remained of their once vibrant stocks and equipments.
It was observed that the Monday morning fire has finally grounded commercial and other activities within the market over tension on the safety of the remaining part of the plank market from possible inferno in the next few days
Governor Ajimobi who was represented by the Special Adviser on Communication and Strategy, Mr. Yomi Layinka; the Head of Service, Mr. Soji Eniade; a former Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Ismail Olalekan-Alli; a former Special Adviser on Political Matters, Dr. Gbade Ojo; and a former Special Adviser on Security, Mr. Segun Abolarinwa during the
visit expressed worries that the market could record two fire incidences within three days.
Addressing newsmen through his Special Adviser on Communication and Strategy, he said, “We are here to examine the extent of damage and to know the causes of the fire incident. That is, the one that happened on Friday and the other that occurred in the early hours of Monday”.
The governor declared that amidst allegation of some conspiracy in the fire incident that gutted the market, the government shall thoroughly investigate the immediate and remote causes of the incidents to ensure that whoever is responsible is brought to justice.
“We will not tolerate this kind of situation; arson is not what we must allow in any community within the state. This government holds preservation of lives and property very dearly. This is a state where everybody has the right to live and trade within the limit of the Constitution,” he said.
While appealing for calm among the traders and members of the affected community, the governor said security operatives had been put on red alert to guide the market in order to prevent further losses.
Earlier, the Chairman of the market association, Mr. Oladipo Faseyitan, while narrating the fire incident, said while the first fire incident was caused by a gas explosion from a nearby building, the second one could have been caused by a group of people who claimed to be the land owners.
He explained that his members had for some time been having running battles with the land owners who had told them to either vacate the community or face dire consequence.
Also, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Sango Police Station, Mrs. Joyce Maiyaki, said the police had been providing adequate security in the area just as she commended the state fire service for its prompt response in putting out the fire.