A section of the popular Abubakar Gumi central market 'Yan Manja' in Kaduna was yesterday razed by fire, with over 150 shops and property worth millions of naira destroyed.The fire, however, was extinguished by men of the Kaduna State emergency fire service with the assistance of security operatives who were at hand to check the activities of hoodlums who might want to take advantage of the situation.
The executive chairman of the Kaduna State Market Development and Management Company Limited, Ambassador Sule Buba, who was there to inspect and have a first hand assessment of the extent of damage, described the incident as unfortunate and the situation pitiable.
"We commend the Kaduna State Emergency Fire services and the security operatives for their quick intervention, even though the fire started in the early hours before the arrival of fire fighters a lot of damage has been done.
"All efforts are now geared towards rehabilitating those that are affected and we will make sure that they get succour from us very soon."
Buba, however, said the cause of the fire outbreak could not be ascertained immediately but necessary efforts to get to the root of the incident with the aim of preventing a future occurrence.
LEADERSHIP also spoke with the North-West Zonal coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Alhaji Mustapha Suleiman, who said a committee would be set up immediately to detail the extent of damage and give an assessment report.
"We have reported to the National Emergency Management Agency headquarters and our own report which will detail the nature of damage and the extent of the damage will get to the headquarters within 48 hours," he said.
He assured that favourable response would come from the headquarters and the victims will be assisted.
"We have been carrying out vigorous campaign from this market for disaster risk reduction measure, introducing the NEMA market fire insurance policy. But very few of the traders took the cover which had expired for one year and none of them has renewed it.
"A number of insurance companies have come to partner with market people to take the policy, to no avail.
"So, this is another opportunity to call on the traders to have a re-think and I believe it is imperative to now call for a Market Fire Summit considering the frequent re-occurrence of market fire incidents in the North-West." He stressed.
LEADERSHIP also spoke with the chairman, Kaduna State Traders Association, Alhaji Adamu Usman (Mai Shinkafa), who expressed shock at the incident. According to him, he suspected that the fire incidence might have been caused as a result of an electric pole beside the First Bank that sparked regularly for which report had been severally made to the PHCN authority to no avail before this unfortunate incident.
Efforts to speak with victims of the fire incident failed as they were all seen wailing and bemoaning their loss.