Timber traders count losses as fire razes market in Abuja.
Cyril Mbah, Abuja
Many traders were left in tears on Sunday as a raging fire engulfed the popular Kugbo Timber Market located along the Keffi-Abuja Road destroying goods worth millions of naira.
Traders complained that it took the Federal Fire Service more than one hour to reach the scene but despite the effort of the firefighters, who were assisted by security personnel, including soldiers from a nearby military barracks and members of the public, the fire raged until the entire market was destroyed.
It was gathered that officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) also came to the scene three hours after the incident on Sunday and promised to assist the traders who are mainly from the southern parts of the country.
When our reporter visited the scene, many traders were seen clustered together and discussing their plight in tears.
One particular trader was wailing uncontrollably and stating that he restocked his stall only a day before the fire incident and has not sold anything from the new goods.
In a related development, the Federal Fire Service has banned its officials from responding to fire emergencies from residents in nearby Mararaba, located in Nasarawa State after firefighters were allegedly attacked by residents for responding late to a fire alarm from the area.
Comptroller General of the Fire Service, Dr. Liman Ibrahim who gave the directive in Abuja on Monday regretted that fire vehicles were damaged and staff, who responded to a call during a fire outbreak in the community were injured by the attackers.
The comptroller said the service cannot afford to place its personnel and equipment at risk, and he called on community leaders to caution their subjects against unprovoked attacks on uniformed personnel.