Ibadan plank market: Again, fire razes over 150 shops, 3 vehicles, 4 houses
For the second time in three days, tragedy struck again, as fire engulfed the popular Igbajo Plank Market in Alaro area of Sango, Ibadan, Oyo State, in the early hours of yesterday.
The fire razed more than 150 shops, three vehicles and four houses.
The first fire disaster, which occurred on Christmas Day, had earlier destroyed more than 250 shops, thereby bringing the number of shops razed by fire in the same market to more than 400 within three days. Goods and equipment valued at billions of naira were said to have been licked by fire which burnt from 2:00pm on Christmas Day to 3:00am on Saturday.
According to the chairman of the market, Mr. Oladipo Faseyitan, the fire outbreak this time around began at 12 midnight on Sunday and destroyed property worth billions of naira
The fire was said to have been quenched through communal efforts of the residents, who alleged that fire fighters did not respond to their distressed calls.
Meanwhile, a delegation of Oyo State Government, including Special Adviser on Communication and Strategy to Governor Abiola Ajimobi, Mr. Yomi Layinka; top government officials, Alhaji Olalekan Alli and Dr. Gbade Ojo; Senior Special Assistant on Print and Broadcast to the governor, Mr. Akin Oyedele; Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Mr. Femi Ipadeola; and Head of Service, Mr. Soji Eniade, inspected the two burnt sections of the market yesterday. Chairman of the market, Mr. Faseyitan, said one of the groups in the community had given the plank sellers few days to vacate the market, allegedly threatening that if they did not leave peacefully, they would be forced out of the market.
The two fire incidents, he said, occurred after the threat. He told the delegation that the site was bought by the Ibadan Timber Dealers Association and the groups have no right to force them out of the market.
Addressing newsmen during the inspection, Layinka conveyed the sympathy of Governor Ajimobi to the victims of the fire disaster, adding that government would investigate causes of the fire incidents and people found culpable would be brought to book.
Layinka, who said government has directed that the market should not be rebuilt until the government concluded its investigation on the disaster, noted that the Igbajo Plank Market has been in existence for more than 60 years. He stated that adequate security would be provided in the market with a view to preventing another disaster.
He further explained that government would consider whether the plank market should be retained or be relocated to another place. He said the market currently operates in a residential area, noting that the market might be in the forest when it started but development has caught up with it and the environment has become residential.
He urged the critical stakeholders in the market to support the modernisation drive of the government geared towards ensuring standardisation of all markets in the state.
Addressing the traders and artisans earlier, Alli, said: “We are here in the instance of Governor Ajimobi, who raised a top government team to visit this site again today (yesterday), as a follow up to the initial visit on Christmas Day. At 7pm on Christmas Day, government representatives were here when the fire fighters were trying to quench the fire. The fire that started at 2pm on Christmas Day was eventually quenched by the fire fighters by 3am on Saturday.”