29 Jun Market Fire Outbreaks In Nigeria
MARKET FIRE OUTBREAKS IN NIGERIA
The year 2019 had been a year of fire outbreaks as a notable number of incidences occurred, among many which occurred in markets. According to the data revealed from online media reports, between January, 2019 to May, 2020, a total number of 68 outbreaks occurred, out of which 31 of these incidences involved markets. A mortality of 79 was recorded.
Lagos state had 22 fire outbreaks which makes it the state with the highest market fire in the country. Out of the total of 22 fire outbreaks in Lagos, 10 occurred in the market with 3 deaths recorded even though the state fire fighters and other safety agencies responded to the incidents, a total of about 11 buildings were destroyed by the infernos with the cause of most of the fire outbreaks unknown.
Anambra State recorded a total of 7 fire outbreaks which involved 4 markets with the mortality of 8 people recorded. Most of the causes were electric faults. More than 500 shops were destroyed in Ochanja Market on the 16th of October 2019 and on 1st of November 2019, about 400 shops were destroyed in Mgbuka Obosi Spare Part Market with the causes being a petrol tanker accident and electric fault respectively.
In Edo state, the total number of market fire outbreaks was 2 with only 1 death recorded. More than half of the markets were destroyed and the fire fighters were not available in both incidences which involved Ekiosa Market and Santana Market which happened on the 22nd December 2019 and 23rd October 2019 respectively.
In Oyo State, there was a total of 3 fire outbreaks with just 1 market fire outbreak that involved the Akesan market. The fire fighters near the market were informed about the fire outbreak that occurred on the 5th of January 2020. According to (The Guardian Newspaper, 2020), the fire station which was located a few meters to the market gave the excuse that they didn’t have enough water in their truck, hence, they were not available during the incident. This resulted to mob getting angry and they reportedly set the truck and other property at the fire station on fire. In order to disperse the protesters, the Police operatives started firing gunshots which resulted to the loss of at least 3 lives hit by stray bullets. Fire fighters from Ibadan, the state capital and Ogbomosho later came to quench the fire.
Wadata Market in Benue State had the highest number of shops that were destroyed in market fire outbreaks in 2019. On the 2nd of January 2019, more than 600 shops got burnt with the cause unknown but fire fighters were available to minimize the damage the fire could have caused.
The fire outbreaks were the highest between October and April, this could be due to the fact that those periods were the dry/ harmattan season in Nigeria, this could be an enhancement to the occurrence of fire outbreak.
The amount allocated to the fire sector in the Nigerians budget that keeps increasing every year. The budget increased from N9.7bn in 2019 to N11.9bn in 2020 and still, most of the fire stations do not have the equipment to combat fire outbreak incidence.
The frequent fire outbreaks that have ravaged several markets and places across the country are preventable if the government and individuals could team up to put preventive measures in place. Measures include equipping fire stations and sensitizing traders on the need to be fire conscious and the equipment they might need to be constantly in their shops such as fire extinguishers.
The Budget Office. (2019); budgetoffice.gov.ng
The Guardian Newspaper. (2020, January 08); https://m.guardian.ng/news/traders-count-losses-to-inferno-in-400-year-old-akesan-market/