Traders at Labaowo Market, Ogunpa, in Ibadan North West Local Government of Oyo State were on Wednesday thrown into confusion and sorrow when a section of the market was razed by fire.
Wailings of the traders generated emotions as little could be done to salvage some of their belongings.
It was learnt by our correspondent that the market went up in flames at around 10am as an inflammable product (adhesive) allegedly caught fire destroying items worth millions of naira.
The President, Labaowo International Market, Alhaji Lukmon Alaka, said tragedy struck when a woman opened a can of gum near another woman who was cooking.
Alaka said, “A woman was cooking noodles beside her when the place went up in flames following an explosion. The shops went up in flames.”
He, however, stated that traders at the market had been warned against cooking in the market.
According to him, three people with five buildings were affected by the inferno. However, he said no life was lost in the incident.
Those injured were said to have been taken to an undisclosed hospital where they were treated and discharged.
Recalling that it was the second time the market would be razed by fire, Alaka said close to one billion naira worth of property were destroyed.
The chairman, while calling on the state government to provide fire station in the market, solicited assistance for victims of the inferno.
The Iyaloja of Ibadanland. Mrs. Labake Lawal, who was at the scene of the incident, sympathised with the affected traders and also called on the state government to come to their aid.
The Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations), Oyo State Command, Mr. Musa Kimo, who was at the scene, said they were expected to protect the people and ensure that hoodlums did not take advantage of the situation.
He said, “The police ensured that the situation was not hijacked by hoodlums.”
Two of the affected traders – Olanrewaju Tanimola and Dayo Adedapo – said they were in their shops when they heard distress calls.
They said the late arrival of officials of the state fire service was responsible for the level of destruction.