Fire gutted a section of Eke-Oha Market (Shopping Centre), in Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State in the early hours of Wednesday, destroying goods said to be worth millions of Naira.
The incident which took place in zone-1 and zone-6 of the market razed a Mini-Warehouse filled with newly imported Lex Fabrics in zone-1 and another shop in zone -6 which was reportedly filled with newly imported Lycra Fabrics on Tuesday.
The cause of the fire remains a mystery to traders, buyers and market executives who all made comments of having no knowledge to the source of the fire believed to have started around 3am.
As at when newsmen arrived at the scene, market executives who reportedly arrived the market when they got the distress call were seen in their night wears calming situations down as police reportedly arrested the security men at the two zones of the market for investigation purpose.
A source at the market told our reporter that men of the fire service who reportedly came with two trucks to battle the fire tried in preventing the fire from escalating to other nearby shops, but could not remedy the situation in the already burning ones.
Speaking to newsmen, the caretaker chairman of Eke-Oha Shopping Centre, Mr. Friday Dimiri said: “As at 3am this morning, I got a distress call from the security men here about fire outbreak in the market. I quickly called the firefighters and also got the police involved to avoid theft. I rushed down here with my team and we have been here doing the most we can to calm things down here. The fire men with most of us who came earlier and with the help of God almighty helped in making sure that the fire didn’t escalate to other parts of the market.
“The police in their own investigation have arrested the security men who serve here to know the reality of the whole incident. The worth of goods damaged by the fire cannot be ascertained yet as proper estimate with the owners have not been done. We will cooperate with the police to get to the bottom of the whole incident.”
Other traders and sympathizers who spoke to our reporter lamented at the level of damage and asked God to give the owners fortitude to bear the huge lost.
Mr. Obinna Okolo a trader said, “It was strange to me. the other shop was recently filled with goods on Monday while the other one offloaded just yesterday. It cannot be electricity because, there is nothing like that where the fire took place. And parts of the markets that have light are usually switched off every 5pm before we go home. I just pray God will comfort those two people because the damage was much.”