The Onitsha drug market, otherwise known as Bridge Head Market was in the early hours of Saturday gutted by fire, leaving goods worth millions of naira destroyed in the inferno.
Sources said the fire incident started at about 6 am on Saturday from Redemption Line of the market but the quick intervention of men of the Fire Service from Onitsha Main market and Building Materials Market Ogidi prevented the fire from spilling over to other parts of the market.
When our correspondents visited the market, traders were seen in clusters clearing their shops of rubble and counting their losses.
No life was lost in the incident, but goods and cash lost in the disaster were described as colossal.
A victim, Chidubem Uzochukwu, told our correspondent that he lost N700,000 cash and goods worth over N15 million.
The President of Association of Medical and Pharmaceutical Products Dealers Onitsha Market, Mr. Uche Eze, said he was called by market security men at about 6.15 am on Saturday that there was fire outbreak at Redemption Line and he quickly called men of the Fire Service from Onitsha Main Market and Building Material Market Ogidi.
He said he also alerted members of his executive, who responded immediately and were able to quench the fire to avoid it spreading to the entire market.
He said ,”When I arrived at the market the fire was still raging, members of my executive were also here with me, including the President General of Bridge Head Markets Association Mr. Sunday Obinze, Chairman of Redemption Line and his Secretary, Alvin Okpaleke, were all here helping the Fire Service officials to quench the fire.
“Several shops were affected and millions of naira both in cash and goods were lost to this fire incident.
“You can see for yourself the debris left in the shops. The owners equipped their shops with goods for the Christmas sales, but you can see what has happened.
“The whole market would have been engulfed by the fire if not for our prompt response in calling the firefighting men from both markets.
“We are therefore appealing to Governor Willie Obiano to come to the assistance of the affected traders; they have lost all they have been working for over the years in just one incident.
“We are also appealing to the governor to provide us with fire service equipment; it is unfortunate that the entire Bridge Head Markets Association has no fire service facility to tackle this kind of problem.”