As many as 250 victims of the Bodija International Market Ibadan recent inferno are now stranded, having lost enormous valuables, Daily Trust reports.
They were hanging around the market recently when Daily Trust Saturday visited.
The fire was said to have emanated from an unknown source as early as 3am last week Monday.
The affected areas include Ori-Igi, Daleko, and Iso Ẹlẹwà, inside the popular market.
Daily Trust Saturday gathered that the fire incident which razed about 40 shops, affected 250 traders in the market.
Speaking on behalf of the affected traders, the Babaloja of Bodija International Market, who doubles as Babaloja General of Oyo State, Alhaji Sumaila Aderemi Jimoh, said the fire incident was unfortunate.
He said he had met with the affected traders and they are trying to seek audience with the government on ways to support the victims.
Recounting the efforts put in place to stop the fire incident, the Director of Operations Oyo State Fire Service Agency, Mr Ismail Adeleke, said his men fought the fire for more than one hour before it subsided.
“We received a distress call from Yemetu police station around 5am from one Mr Ayo Akeredolu that there was a fire incident at Ori-igi, Bodija Market. We deployed our men to the place with 27,000 litres of water. We had to call for additional 15,000 litres before we finally put off the fire.
“We used about 42,000 litres of water to ensure the fire was stopped from extending to other areas of the market. As we speak, we cannot say the source of the fire. We are waiting for the outcome of our investigation before we establish the source of the fire.”
“There was no loss of life and nobody was injured in the incident. We were informed late. We didn’t receive any call from the people in the market, it was a policeman in Yemetu area that called and we responded swiftly.”
Adeleke advised residents of the state to always put safety measures in place to prevent fire outbreaks and to always call fire service immediately if there is an outbreak.
This is coming six months after traders lost goods worth millions of naira in a fire incident at Agbeni Market, also in Ibadan.
Speaking with Daily Trust Saturday on the development, some of the victims appealed to the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to support them the way he supported fire victims in Kano State.
A trader who deals in sewing materials, Ridwan Mujidat, said she lost more than N4m to the inferno.
“I sell clothes and sewing materials. Everything burnt to ashes. I couldn’t get anything out of the shop the following day. I don’t know how the fire started but I know it was overnight. I want well-meaning Nigerians to come and help us.”
Another victim, Mr Ganiyu Asimiyu Kolawole, who deals in food stuff, also urged politicians to help them with money to start their businesses again.
“We want those who can promise and fulfil their promises. Our father Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu should come and support us. He did it for Kano fire victims and he should do it for us here too. In fact, we don’t want someone that will build this place for us but we want money to start our business again.
“Governor Makinde should also come and support us. He has all it takes to rebuild the market and give us money to restart our business. Our people are just hanging around doing nothing. Our party leaders have done their bit but we need money to start our business.”
He said the affected traders have more than 400,000 votes to support politicians who can help them get back on their feet.
Another victim who deals in clothes, Mrs Olaiya Taiwo, said the fire incident has rendered her hopeless, asking Nigerians to support victims of the fire incident.
“With this, I am hopeless. This is not the right time for me to have such unfortunate development in my life. I need God and good people to support me. If it is Asiwaju that would help us, we want him to come before it is too late. I am not myself again with this,” she said.
For Mrs Mary Babatunde, who sells provisions, her major challenge is to pay back the loans she invested in the business.
“I lost everything to the inferno. The most unfortunate thing for me now is how to pay back my loans. I started this business about 12 years ago. We need help. I don’t have money to take care of my children again. We only come to market without getting money for transportation. People should please support us,” she said.