By Francis Sardauna in Katsina
An outbreak of fire at the weekend razed 350 shops and stalls at makeshift market Funtua, situated in Funtua Local Government Area of Katsina State, destroying goods and property worth N350 million.
The mysterious fire, according to an eyewitness who pleaded anonymity started at about 7: 41p.m last Friday and lasted for about two and half hours, rendering thousands of traders jobless.
The Chairman of Funtua Traders Association, Alhaji Sule Garba, who disclosed this while taking the state Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, round the scene of the inferno, said over 3,000 traders were transacting businesses at the market before the disaster.
He told the governor that 350 shops and stalls were razed during the fire outbreak, despite efforts made by the officers of the state Fire Service to quench it.
“350 shops and stalls were completely razed during the fire outbreak. However, men and officers of the state Fire Service worked harder to quench the fire but could not at the movement,” he explained.
Garba while lamenting that goods worth N350 million were lost, however, called on the state and federal governments to come to the aid of the victims considering the devastating effect of the disaster.
Responding, Governor Masari directed the state Environment Management Agency (SEMA) to commence immediate assessment of the level of destruction caused by the inferno and report same to government for onward assistance of the victims.
He said, “I assure you that government would continue to assist businessmen and women in order to boost business activities in the state. I call on you to cooperate with SEMA and URPB to conduct a thorough work at the site of the inferno.”
The governor urged the affected traders not to loose hope but continue to work and pray for the return of their means of livelihood.