No fewer than 300 shops and goods worth millions of naira were on Saturday night destroyed by fire that engulfed Santana Market on Sapele Road in Benin, Edo state.
Residents and owners of the shops could not salvage the situation due to the intensity of the fire.
A resident around the market, Mr. Monday Ogbeide, said the fire started at about 11pm on Saturday.
“We just saw the market burning and we did not know the cause of the fire. All efforts to put out the fire was not successful because of the intensity of the fire.
“When we got here, we called the fire service, but up till now they did not respond,” he said.
Ogbeide however, blamed the fire on power surge that may have occurred in one of the shops in the market when power was restored at night.
A shop owner whose shop was affected by the fire, Mrs. Justina Amadasun, wept uncontrollably, saying that the shop was her only means of livelihood.
Another shop owner, Mrs. Blessing Ayo, who sells bags of rice and frozen food, said that “l lost everything to the fire.
“All the bags of rice, cartons of chicken and deep freezers, including money which l could not take home yesterday among others went with the fire.
“Nobody should come and tell me that it was power surge because for three days now we did not have light in the market. I am calling on the government to come to our aid because this market is where we get our daily bread.
“Some of us are single mothers; we take care of our children from the money we make here. Government should come and help us now, it is not only when it comes to elections that they remember us. We need them now,” Mrs. Ayo said.
It was learnt that it took the efforts of fire fighters from the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) to put out the fire.
All efforts to reach the state fire service to find out why they did not respond to the distress calls put across to them were unsuccessful.)