By Godwin Obi
This is not the best of times for Importers and Traders, particular, Igbo traders at the busy Balogun market, regarded as Lagos Commercial hub, as fire gutted the Anambra plaza and seven other buildings accommodating thousands of shops.
The fire incident may have caught many of the traders unaware as they virtually lost all their goods.”They have done it again, see how Igbo traders goods worth billions of naira are burning”, rented the air. The popular Balogun market in Lagos Island where the fire had erupted is one of the largest textile , apparel and shoe market in the West African sub-region.
Some of the buildings gutted by the fire incident included the Aroslys plaza, a four storey, building belonging to one Alousious Odulukkwe, an Uli born businessman, popular, Ichie Obiadada. Others included a seven storey Sunny Land plaza, which collapsed immediately after it was gutted by the fire and five other buildings facing Sanni Adewale street, a street directly be-hind Martins, where Anambra plaza is located.
The fire was said to have started when one of the traders on the first floor allegedly put on his Generator which was said to have sparked off fire because of splashes of fuel on it. Angered by what happened, he was said to have thrown down theJjerry Can of fuel in his hand and everywhere went up in flames.
prior to the Balogun fire incident, last Friday a portion of Sunny Land Plaza had collapsed the previous week, following a a fire incident that was immediately put off.. The allout of the fire outbreak, was said to have forced officials of the Commercial Business District,CBD, an agen-cy of the Lagos state government, to close down the plaza and order the traders out of the building.
The Value News Magazine cited men of the state fire service battling to prevent the fire from spreading into the entire market, but the fire fighters had difficulty extending their water hose to the buildings gutted by the fire as there were no space in-between the buildings.
The unfortunate incident may send many of the traders and their importers to their untimely death, particular, those who had borrowed money from the banks to finance the imports. The Balogun fire outbreak had occuredbarely 48 hours after a popular Sabo market in the Sagamu Local government Area of Ogun state razed down 100 shops stuffed with with local and imported goods. The Sagamu fire outbreak was said to have come barely five days after fire gutted the popular Amu Timber market in Mushin.
Efforts byThe Magazine to speak to the Lessee of the Anambra pla 7, and owner of Chisco Motors ltd, Chidi Anyaegbu, did not materialise. The Anambra state born businessman could not pick his calls as he was said to be in shock following the unexpected fire that gutted his building asset.
Recall that Last November, two buildings at the Balogun market were also gutted by fire . Many believe that the continous fire outbreak at Balogun market should have given the Lagos government an insight on what needed to do to redraw the map of Lagos Island and force down some of the old buildings in order to rebuild the the Area, and turn it into a modern business environment.