The popular Oba Market in Benin City, the Edo State capital, has been gutted by fire.
The fire, which burnt almost all the massive market, according to witnesses, started around 12:05 a.m. today, June 22, 2020, and raged till 6 a.m., before it was put out by firefighters.
It was learnt that there was no public electricity supply when the fire started, thereby ruling out the possibility of electrical spark, while the actual cause of the fire had not been ascertained.
Many of the traders were wailed uncontrollably over the loss of their goods, estimated to be hundreds of millions of naira, thereby pleading with Governor Godwin Obaseki and others to come to their aid at this period of COVID-19 pandemic.
Men of Edo state fire service, whose office is near the burnt market, were helpless, as they gave flimsy excuses for not being able to put out the fire, ranging from lack of water and moribund trucks, making some passersby attack them.
The Assistant Controller, Federal Fire Servce in Asaba, Delta state, Samson Karibo, who was in Benin with his men, on special assignment, greatly assisted to put out the fire.
Karibo disclosed that the Chief Security Officer (CSO) to Obaseki called to inform him, shortly after the fire started, thereby making him to quickly move to the scene with his men.
Edo Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Chidi Nwabuzor, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), could not be reached for his reaction, as at press time.