Traders at Relief Market Plaza in Owerri Municipal Council of Imo State are at present counting the heavy losses they suffered from series of fire outbreaks at the market.
The traders appealed to the state government to intervene in order to save their means of livelihood.
Our correspondent gathered that the market was engulfed in two infernos within one month, with the latest occurring on January 5, 2023.
Shops and goods estimated to cost millions of naira were reportedly destroyed during the fire outbreaks, leaving the traders especially those directly affected devastated.
Briefing newsmen in Owerri on Tuesday, the Chairman of the Plaza, Paul Okpara described the fire incidents as very worrisome.
Okpara wondered why the market was witnessing the fire outbreaks from the Dan Anyiam Stadium side of the market.
He expressed his displeasure over the trauma victims of the fire outbreaks are passing through, especially at this time of untold economic hardship in the country.
He disclosed that the traders kept silent over the previous infernos, but have to speak out after the latest fire outbreak, considering the havoc it had wreaked at the plaza.
Okpara said;”We don’t really know the root cause of this repeated fire outbreak. Within one month, the plaza had witnessed two, and now this. The worst is that flames emanate from the stadium, and since the wall is our boundary, it automatically extends to the shops.
“Both Line A and line B are not free. The type of fire that we usually encounter is not even one fire extinguisher can quench. Thank God for the rapid response of the fire fighters, if not, no single pin would have been saved”.
The chairman expressed disapproval over the construction of the entrance gate which is attached with shops, describing it as inappropriate and called on the state governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma to intervene.
He solicited the assistance of government in unraveling the remote causes and possible ways of averting future fire incident at the Relief Market Plaza.
Okpara, who gave a thumb-up to Uzodimma administration for being a listening government, requested that the Relief Market Plaza Road be constructed and constant electricity be supplied in the area.
Also speaking, the Secretary of the Relief Market Plaza, Nwokedi Hyacinth Obumneke also bemoaned the incessant fire outbreak at the market.
He regretted that while some of the shop owners were still in their respective villages for the New Year festivities, and others at the comfort of their homes, they were greeted with the ugly news of their burnt commodities worth millions of naira.
He recalled that the three consecutive incidents that befell the plaza came through the Dan Anyiam Stadium.