By Deji Elumoye in Abuja and Francis Sardauna
President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor of Katsina State, Hon. Bello Masari have expressed sadness over the fire that razed Katsina Central Market yesterday morning destroying hundreds of shops and billions of Naira worth of wares.
Buhari, in a reaction by his Media Assistant, Malam Garba Shehu, described the destruction visited by the fire as horrific.
He said: “I am extremely sad to hear the tragic news about the fire in Katsina market this morning. My thoughts are with those who lost their valued wares, and in some of the cases, entire savings. I have instructed concerned authorities to provide all possible assistance urgently.”
Goods worth millions of Naira were destroyed by the fire, which gutted over 100 shops and stalls in the popular Katsina Central Market, situated in Katsina, the state capital.
THISDAY gathered that the fire, which started around 8am from one of the shops in the main section of the market, spread to other shops as some traders who were not affected trooped to evacuate their goods before the raging fire reached their shops.
Though the cause of the fire was not yet known as at the time THISDAY visited the market, a combined team of State Fire Service, Federal Fire Service and the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) battled to put out the fire.
However, no casualties were recorded during the inferno but most of the affected traders were rushed to hospitals as a result of trauma.
One of the traders, Mr. Babangida Kabir, said the inferno started from one of the shops when electricity was supplied to the area, saying “we saw a spark from one of the shops and before we realized that the fire had extended to other shops”.
He said: “Over 100 locked-up shops and stalls of cosmetics, foodstuffs, textile materials and other valuables were completely razed down by the inferno. I don’t even know where to start because my shop was burnt to ashes. This is too painful for me to bear under this harsh economic situation that we are in”.
But the Chairman of the Market, Alhaji Abbas Al-baba, said he could not ascertain the number of shops and properties affected by the inferno, adding that similar incident occured some years back where over 200 shops were razed in the market.
Meanwhile, Governor Aminu Bello Masari has expressed sadness and sympathy with the victims of the fire incident, describing it as very devastating in the historic of the state.
Masari, who addressed journalists shortly after an on-the-pot assessment of the ravaged market, vowed to assist the victims and also roll out measures that will prevent future occurrence.