The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has warned traders in Anambra markets to avoid storing combustible materials in their shops in order to check incessant fire outbreaks.
Mr Kingsley Okoro, an official of South-East Zonal office of NEMA, Enugu, gave the warning on Thursday, when he led officials of the agency, along with Anambra State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), on an assessment of the fire at the Automobile Spare Parts Market, Obosi.
Okoro said that their findings pointed to careless handling of inflammable materials by people as a major cause of fire recorded in recent times in the state.
Nigeria News Agency recalls that Anambra recorded more than six major fire disasters between October, 2019 and January 14.
The incidents included the fire at Ochanja Market, Onitsha, Omogba Onitsha and Entertainment centre in Nnewi, among others.
The NEMA official regretted that goods worth several millions of naira were destroyed in the January 11 fire, which affected the Jide Zone of the market.
‘‘After our assessment, we ascertained that a total of 672 traders, including 647 males and 25 females, were directly affected by the fire.
‘‘The magnitude of damage recorded by these traders is indeed colossal.
“We sympathise with the traders and pray God to give them the heart to bear the loss, while waiting for government’s intervention,’’ Okoro said.
He told the victims that the visit would enable them to articulate their report to NEMA headquarters to ensure that the Federal Government provided relief materials for the victims.
In his remark, Mr Chukwudi Ezekwe, a director with SEMA, said the state government sympathised with the victims of the fire.
Ezekwe said that the state government alerted NEMA officials for “collaborative intervention” because of the magnitude of the damage.
The Chairman of the market, Chief Ogbuefi Ezeobodo, who spoke on behalf of the traders, regretted that a trader, Godwin Edozieuno, died as a result of shock, while six others sustained various degrees of injuries.
Ezeobodo said that goods worth millions of naira were destroyed by the fire.
He thanked the officials of the two agencies for the visit and commended men of the state fire service for their prompt response to put out the fire.
He said the quick intervention helped to contain the fire from spreading to other shops in the market.
(Edited by: Mustapha Lamidi/Sam Oditah)
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