Goods worth several millions of naira have been destroyed in a
midnight fire that razed the biggest motor spare parts market in Edo
State located at Uwelu, in Egor Local Government Area of the state.  

The fire was said to have started at about 11:45pm Monday night,
August 12th and lasted till about 4am after efforts from fire service
men from the University of Benin and the Nigerian Army.

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Sections of the market affected by the fire were the lines were
Mercedes Benz, Mazda, Ford and Toyota parts are sold. It was gathered
that some of the affected traders just bought goods to fill their
stores. Some of the traders were said to have collapsed when they
visited the scene and saw the magnitude of their losses.  

One of them was said to have attempted running into the raging fire,
but was stopped. One of the victims, Daniel Okungbowa, who deals in all
types fuel and oil pumps, said he lost goods worth about N4 million to
the fire. Another victim, Osaeruoname Festus, said they we’re yet to
ascertain the cause of the fire and wondered how the fire spread rapidly
when there was no power supply to the market.

According to him, “We are yet to ascertain what actually led to the
fire. We could not remove anything from our shops. Many boys who just
got freedom from their masters and opened? their shops, are yet to repay
the loans they took from various banks.” 

Chairman of Spare Parts Dealers Association, Augustine Ibie Osaretin,
said the fire incident had compounded the low patronage they were
currently witnessing due to bad roads that led to the market. He added
that the four security guard hired by the traders were being questioned
by the police.  

Osaretin said he received an anonymous call that the market was on
fire and that when he called the security personnel on ground, he was
told that it was somebody burning something in a nearby street.

“When the security man told me somebody was burning something, I told
him to check properly and he told me it was the line where my shop is
located that was on fire. I called the Edo State Fire Service, but they
did not come. The entire market would have been razed if fire men had
not come from UNIBEN and the Nigerian Army.

“For now, we do not suspect any foul play, but we have held a meeting
to appease those affected and stood any suicidal attempt. We beg the
state government to rebuild the market because we are using loan from
micro-finance bank,” he said.

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