Tuesday, April 25, 2023, will continue to linger in the memory of traders at the Bodija plank market in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
Findings revealed that the traders are currently counting their losses as a result of a recent fire incident that ravaged a section of the market.
Bodija market is one of the major markets in Ibadan.
The fire incident started around 3 pm, penultimate Tuesday.
According to the traders, the fire suddenly started from one of the shops and lasted for more than two hours before it was quenched through a joint effort of the traders, Oyo State Fire Service, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other stakeholders.
The affected shops are located within zone 9 of the plank market.
The affected traders noted that no fewer than 120 shops were affected, while about 500 traders were still counting their losses at the moment.
One of the traders identified as Mr. Ahmed Abdulwasiu was partially burnt during the inferno.
The victim is still in the hospital.
The traders insisted that up till now, no one can explain what caused the inferno.
However, all efforts made to quench the fire on time proved abortive as it kept spreading.
Some of the items lost to the inferno included machines of various categories and sizes, building materials, refrigerators, deep freezers, ice block making machines, planks of different sizes and shapes worth over N100m.
Some of the traders were seen removing the debris and carcass of their property when visited the market on Wednesday.
The traders, who confirmed that the state governor, Seyi Makinde had visited the market, enjoined the state government to cite a fire service station in the market to avoid future occurrences.
They also urged the state government to rehabilitate the existing roads in the market.
Meanwhile the affected traders recounted their ordeal.
I lost over N2m property- Saheed Adekola
One of the affected traders at the market, Mr. Saheed Adekola, who said he lost everything due to the fire incident.
He added that his property is worth about N2m.
“This is my shop. What happened was that yesterday afternoon, we just saw that fire suddenly emerged over there. We went to meet them to quench it, but it was spreading fast. Before we think of anything, it has spread to the next shop and it also crossed the road.
“We could not take anything, someone who tried to pick some materials was burnt and he is still in the hospital. He is my boss, his name is Ahmed Abdulwasiu. I lost many things, including machines, generators, working tools, doors, 24 sets of frames, sets of chairs. I have lost everything worth over N2m. That is apart from the shop because I am not the owner of the shop. I rented it. The governor has promised to assist us.”
I lost over N5m property- Mutiu Olaoluwa
Another trader, Mr. Mutiu Olaoluwa said that he lost over N5m worth of property to the inferno.
“We just saw that the fire suddenly emerged around 3 pm yesterday from one of the shops. We were trying to quench it and it suddenly spread to other shops. I have lost everything here, doors, machines, planks, what we need is government intervention.
“I have lost over N5m as a result of this incident. We do not know what caused it. We want the government to assist us. We need a fire service station here in the market. The fire was on for two hours before we saw the fire servicemen. The road was not good and they could not access this place on time. If the road is good, they can get to this place on time”.
Our leaders should be sincere in distributing the palliatives – Female trader
Another trader at the market known as Mummy Sodiq urged the leadership of the market to be sincere with how they share the money given to them by the governor.
“I have a container here. I sell soft drinks and provision items. I was not in the market but I was called around 6pm that fire has ravaged my shop.
“I have refrigerators, ice block making machines, deep freezers and other items worth N1.5m. We appeal to the government to assist us. The leaders of the market should be faithful and sincere with whatever we are given”.
We lost over N100m, 120 shops affected, 500 victims- Zone 9 Chairman
Chairman of Zone 9, Bodija plank market, Mr. Adekunle Oriolowo while speaking said that 120 shops were affected while 500 people are the victims.
He said, “120 shops were affected and we have 500 victims. The loss is more than N100m.
“The government is trying but we want them to do more. We need a fire station in this market. This market is too big for us not to have a fire station”.
We mobilized to ensure the fire is put under control- NEMA
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), when contacted said that the agency mobilized to ensure that the fire #was put under control.
South West Zonal Coordinator of NEMA, Mr Saheed Akiode said that men of the agency were mobilized to the scene of the incident.
We deployed fire contingents to the scene of the fire incident- Oyo State Fire Service
The Oyo State Fire Service in its reaction said that it deployed its men to the scene immediately it was alerted.
General Manager of the State Fire Service, Rev Canon Yemi Akinyinka, made this disclosure via a statement made available.
He said, “The agency received the distress call at exactly 16:37hrs of Tuesday 25, April 2023 by one Mr Rasheed Akinwale alerting the Agency of the incident.
“Immediately, the address was taken, we deployed fire contingents to the scene of the fire incident and on their arrival they met some shops well alight and quickly got into work and restricted the fire from gaining further momentum. We are on top of the situation and the fire is totally under control.
“The cooling down is in progress now. Officers of the federal fire service and Airport Fire Service are also in attendance.
“The poor road network in the market caused a great problem for the accessibility of the fire trucks in gaining free entrance. The market people should refrain from the habit of blocking the access road with their materials”.
Makinde donates N25m to victims, promises rehabilitation of roads
Meanwhile the State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde has visited the market.
The Governor, who was accompanied by some top government functionaries, inspected the scene of the fire disaster and assessed the level of damage.
He said that his administration will immediately release the sum of N25 million to cushion the effects of the inferno.
He noted that the palliative will provide immediate succor to the victims affected.
He added the affected traders that the Ibadan North Local Government area would rehabilitate the inner roads at the market.
Makinde said, “Earlier today, we visited Bodija Plank Market to inspect the level of damage caused by the fire incident yesterday.
“I commiserated with the traders who lost goods and directed that an immediate palliative of N25 million be given to them.
“I also informed them that the Ibadan North Local Government Council would rehabilitate Bodija Market inner roads.”
Oyo Senator-elect, Alli visits, donates building materials to victims
The Senator-elect for Oyo South district, Barrister Sharafadeen Abiodun Alli, has donated some building materials to the market.
Alli made the donation on Friday.
Alli, who had earlier visited the market on Thursday, donated no fewer than 50 bundles of roofing sheets to the victims.
He added that the building materials would go a long way to assist the victims to rebuild their shops.