Not fewer than 25 shops and goods worth millions of Naira were destroyed by a fire outbreak in the early hours of Wednesday at the Gombe Main Market.
An eyewitness disclosed that the inferno, which started around 1:45 am on Wednesday, lasted for about four hours and completely destroyed more than 25 shops, affecting the livelihood of over 300 people before it was eventually put off by a combination of firefighters and individuals.
Chairman of the Market Traders’ Association, Alhaji Uba Abdullahi who spoke to news men at the market attributed the inferno to electrical fault from one of the shops when electricity supply was restored to the market.
He explained base on a preliminary estimate, property worth over N50 million were lost to the inferno adding that the inferno affected mostly tailors, dealers of plastic items and hides and skin traders among others.
The chairman, therefore, called on the marketers to always switch off their electrical appliances after closing from the market to avoid such unfortunate incidents.
“We are lacking proper street layout in the market which made it difficult to get easy access to the shops during an emergency like a fire outbreak. As such, because of lack of proper planning, people were watching helplessly while their shops were being razed down by the fire,” he said.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Commerce, Alhaji Mohammed Malala, who visited the scene, sympathised with the marketers and promised to forward the matter to the government for appropriate action.
Mohammed Malala while urging those affected by the incident to take it as an act of God advised them to always switch off their electric appliances considering the epileptic nature of the power supply in the country.
Some of the victims could only manage to accept the incident as an act of God as they continue to count their losses appealing to the government to as a matter of urgency come to their no matter how little to enable them to start a means of livelihood again.
Meanwhile, Governor of Gombe State, Alhaji Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya in a press release signed by the SSA Media and Publicity, Uba Ismaila Misilli has commiserated with traders and artisans at the popular Layin Dukawa in Gombe main market following a midnight fire outbreak that gutted some shops.
The Governor who described the incident as unfortunate prays Almighty Allah to replenish all that has been lost and avert future occurrence and assured the victims that government will investigate the remote cause of the inferno and seek ways to avoid recurrence of fire outbreaks in our markets.