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Ihiala Main Market fire: Obiano consoles, pledges support for victims

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ANAMBRA State Government has sympathised with Ihiala traders over a fire incident that destroyed their major market.

   A statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C. Don Adinuba promised on behalf of the government to mobilise the people toward planning, re-designing and building a much more modern market in the town.

 Mr Adinuba, an indigene of the town, routed the message through the chairman of Ihiala Local Government Transition Committee, Mr Jeff  Obi, an engineer and the traditional ruler of Ihiala, Igwe Thomas Obidiegwu to the people.

  President-General of the Ihiala Progressive Union, Chief Okey Chukwu was also included in the message from Gov. Willie Obiano.

  “It was regrettable that a good number of the indigenes and residents of the town were adversely impacted by the inferno.

   “The fire claimed not just buildings and market stalls but also vital goods and even cash.”

   “This is a wrong time for such a disaster to occur, especially given the prevailing hard economic condition in the country”, it said.

  The government also pledged that a panel would be set up to determine the causes of the fire and also make suggestions on how to prevent possible recurrences in future.

  The statement notes: “this is the fourth time a fire has occurred in and around this major market in recent years.

“This administration will seek to complete the establishment of a fire service in the town but that the facility will be of little value in the market if it is not provided access roads in the market.

“A situation where a few available access roads in the market are converted into shops, making it difficult for fire trucks to move into the market to extinguish fire is unacceptable.”

The statement notes: “Nkwogbe Market, which was built in the 1950s, is no longer adequate to meet the challenges of modern times.

“The market was built with highly inflammable materials like corrugated iron sheets and planks, and people sell combustible goods like petrol and kerosene in all parts of the facility,” it stated.

  It said a standard market, well planned with sanitary facilities, an efficient fire service and state-of-the-art electricity was a    “desideratum”.

“Government will work with the Ihiala Progressive Union, the Igwe-in-Council, the Ihiala LGA, prominent people from the town and other stakeholders like the traders union and the Anambra State Ministry of Trade and Commerce to provide a befitting market.”

  The statement, then, praised the Anambra State Fire Service officers from Nnewi, who extinguished the fire as good professionals, stressing that when the fire service station in Ihiala is completed, there will not be a need for firemen to come from other towns to fight fires in Ihiala except as reinforcement of local efforts.

   It will be recalled that fire razed some parts of Nkwo Ogbe Market, Ihiala, on Sunday.

   The inferno, which started from Fashion Line (Ogbo Akwa) around 1 pm, extended to some other parts of the market, including the frontline facing Orlu Road.

   People, whose shops were not immediately affected were seen removing their goods to avoid being subsumed in the raging fire.

Meanwhile, many locked shops that were not affected, were forced open by people who rallied to assist to quench the fire and their goods were removed outside, to stop them from being consumed.

   According to one Charles Obi, who owns a provision shop in the market, l just came back from Church, when someone called my attention to the market fire.

“I rushed to the scene to see if my shop has been affected, but thank God that my shop was safe.”

   Mr Ifechukwu Mmadu, a cosmetic dealer in the market said that he was lucky to be within the market in time to remove his goods before the fire gutted his shop.

 One Amobi Udeolisa whose goods were burnt by the fire, blamed it on providence. “God knows what caused the fire”.

   Miss Amaka Unegbu, who owned a clothing shop, cried uncontrollably as the situation was beyond redemption since  all her wares — clothing and shoes were burnt.

  She blamed the Fire Brigade for her predicament. She said that, “had it been they were there, the fire could not have gone out of hand”.

   It was gathered that Fire Service Officers didn’t come during the incident, probably, because nobody contacted them.

   It took the help of some boys and shop owners who were around to quench the fire after many hours of raging.

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