The Oba market in Benin City has been burnt by fire, which has destroyed properties.
The fire burnt almost the whole market, based on eye witness report, the fire was said to have started in the early in the morning by 12:05 am on Monday and continued burning until around 6 am before it was quenched by fire extinguishers.
It was understood that there was no electricity supply when there was a fire outbreak, thereby ignoring the possibility of an electrical spark, though the actual cause of the fire outbreak is yet to be known.
Many of the traders were stunned while others were in tears over the loss of their goods estimated at millions of naira and appealed to Governor Obaseki and others to come to their aid
The busy traffic in front of Oba market, near ring road, was controlled by police officers in order to divert traffic to other adjoining roads and streets.
Officers of the Edo State Fire Service, whose office is close to the market, were helpless as they decry the lack of adequate water and moribund trucks which contributed to their slow response to the fire outbreak, making some pedestrians abuse them and attack them.
Samson Karibo, who is the Assistant Controller, Federal Fire Service, Asaba, Delta State, who was in Benin with his colleagues on a special assignment, helped in extinguishing the fire.
He said that the Chief Security Officer to Governor Obaseki phoned him just after the fire had begun and he moved quickly with his colleagues to the scene if the incident.
He stated that he in turn contacted the fire extinguishers from the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company Limited, which is a subsidiary of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, as well as those of the Nigerian Air Force and the Edo State Fire Service, who later came to the scene of the incident.
Karibo mentioned that the inferno would be thoroughly investigated to know the actual cause of the incident in order to prevent future occurrence.
Despite the early morning rain that fell, the fire was still raging, but the police and other security personnel prevented hoodlums from stealing goods in the market.
Mr. Chidi Nwabuzor, Edo State Police Public Relations Officer, could not be contacted at the time.
However, Governor Obaseki has set up an investigative committee to investigate the cause of the inferno.
This was said by the Governor during an on-the-spot assessment of the market.
The Governor, who had empathy for the traders that lost their goods in the incident, stated that an investigative committee had been set up to know the cause of the incident.
The Governor mentioned that they are currently trying to identify the victims in order to compensate them for the loss of their goods in the incident.
He said that the investigative panel will include officials of Oredo Local Government Council, the Federal Fire Service, the Nigerian Police Force, the State Fire Service, Department of State Services, and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Special Duty.
He also stated that the committee will make sure that the arsonist, who perpetrated this violent act, is arrested and prosecuted.
Governor Obaseki said that the committee is expected to submit its report within ten days and urged on putting measures to make sure that the victims are compensated for their loss.