No fewer than 200 shops and goods worth over N100 million were burnt in Ose Okwuodu food stuff market in Onitsha, Anambra, on 12 April. The fire, according to an eyewitness, started at about 3a.m. Sunday Ewulum, Chairman of the market, expressed sadness over the fire outbreak.
He said that men of the fire service from Okpoko and Main Market, Onitsha, as well as some traders, battled to put out the fire for hours in a bid to save the rest of the market.
The affected sections of the market included tailoring materials, fish, wine, second hand-cloths, rice and yam. He appealed to the Anambra Government and the State Emergency Management Agency to come to the aid of the affected traders. Chief Okwudili Ezenwankwo, President of Amalgamated Market Traders Association of Anambra State (AMATAS), said the state government’s attention would be drawn to the plight of the affected traders. He appealed to the government to set up a panel of inquiry to deternine the cause of the fire. Adding that, efforts were underway to educate the traders on the need to insure their goods.
Douglas Egbuna, Chairman of Onitsha North Local Government Area, described the incident as unfortunate and called on the affected traders to be calm. Some of the affected traders urged the state government, wealthy individuals and philanthropists to come to their aid. Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano has consoled the traders in the Ogboji Area of Ose-Okwodu Market in Onitsha describing the incident as ‘unfortunate’. He assured the affected traders that efforts were being made to ascertain the actual cause of the fire outbreak in order to forestall a future occurrence.
‘Let me also assure you that my administration is determined to change the face of trade and commerce in Anambra State. We shall remodel existing markets to be able to resist the horror of persistent fire outbreaks.” We are already building modern shopping malls in Onitsha, Nnewi and Awka that will deliver a more wholesome shopping experience than what we currently have in Anambra State,’ he said.