Property worth millions of naira were destroyed in an early morning fire that engulfed a house in Benin City at the weekend.
The building, located by Oliha market and its 25 stores was completely razed in the inferno. The cause of the fire was suspected to be an electrical fault. Eyewitnesses who said the fire started at about 2am, said not a single item was rescued from the building.
They lamented the inability of the state fire service to put out the fire. When contacted, men of the fire service blamed their inability on shortage of water. One of the occupants of the building, who gave his name as Michael, said in tears that he lost all the electronic appliances he just brought into the store from Onitsha last Friday, as well as his personal belongings.
Plea to government
He called on the state governor, Adams Oshiomhole and other kind-hearted Nigerians to come to the aid of the traders.
An elderly man, Edionwere Oliha who lived in the house described the incident as shocking. He called on the state government to equip the fire service department with sophisticated equipment to enable it deal with cases of fire. “The fire service department should decentralise their offices instead of concentrating in just one place in the town,” he said. “If there are branches of the fire service office, this incident would not have been as serious as it is.” Another witness, Bernard Okpara advised the state government to sink bore holes across Benin metropolis to solve the challenge of inadequate water supply faced by fire fighters.
The state commissioner for transport, Lucas Okojie who supervises the fire service could not be reached on phone.