GOODS worth over N1billion were destroyed in a fire inferno that ravaged parts of the popular Aleshinloye market in Ibadan,Oyo state capital at the weekend.
Men of the State Fire Service yesterday successfully quenched the raging fire, which began on Friday night.
Hundreds of affected traders were seen wailing over the huge loss, calling on well- meaning individuals and government at all levels to come and assist them.
The leader of Igbo community in the state, Eze Ndigbo of Ibadanland, Eze Alex Anozie, led other Igbo chiefs to the market to sympathise with the traders yesterday.
Describing the loss as very devastating, Anozie made passionate appeal to the government to assist the affected traders financially and also help in reconstructing the shops.
He also suggested that the market be ordered to close by 6pm daily, leaving only the security personnel to man the market and open for business by 7am.
“I remember that since such was introduced at Onitsha market, frequent fire out break stopped,” Anozie added.
The burnt items are mainly jeweleries, fabrics, shoes, handbags and travelling bags as well as wrist watches, among others.
One of the affected traders, Mr.Adeoye Soyemi, who deals with jeweleries, told newsmen that no fewer than six hundred shops were affected in the inferno, putting his loss at close to N1 million.
He revealed that the fire started as a result of power surge, which affected one refrigerator inside one of the affected shops.
Further investigation revealed that when the fire initially started, five shops were affected while the private night guards on duty alerted men of Oyo State fire service.
It was also learnt that the fire fighters could however not get enough water to contain the fire, a development which worsened the situation.
It was a sad tale for many of the traders who got to know of the incident as late as midnight as hoodlums had already vandalised and stolen their goods before getting to the market.
As at press time, scores of affected traders were compiling their names and items lost to the inferno with sympathisers thronging the market.