The Auto parts market popularly known as New market, Owerri, Imo State, was gutted fire late Wednesday night, less than 48 hours to the expiration date for the demolition of the market the state government.
Earlier that Wednesday afternoon, Governor Rochas Okorocha, had gone to the market to remind the traders that they must vacate the market before Friday December 15 when the demolition exercise would commence.
However, on sighting Governor Okorocha and his demolition team coming with bulldozers, the irate traders started booing him and hurled sachet water on him and his team. Apparently angered the attitude of the traders, he ordered that a ditch be dug at the entrance of the market Douglas road to ensure that the market would not be accessed any vehicle.
When our Reporter visited the market yesterday morning, it was discovered that the midnight inferno destroyed a large section of the market as some traders bemoaned their loses.
A trader, Daniel Joshua, told Daily Sun that he was lucky as he had already removed all his wares from the shop following the two weeks demolition notice handed down to the traders at the market.
According to him, “ I have already removed my goods from the shop, because we have been told the governor that the market would be demolished on 15 December and even when we pleaded with him to give us more time he refused.
He added, “those who were affected the fire were those who had not been able to remove their goods from their shops. But we were surprised about the fire outbreak because nobody could actually say what ignited the fire in the middle of the night “
Ikechukwu Ibe, who deals in car batteries was not that lucky as he had not finished packing out his wares before the fire gutted his shop destroying everything.
“I only managed to pack out my goods from the first shop because I have two shops. I still had goods at the second shop and I have not finished. When I was informed that fire had burnt a section of the market and my own shop was among.”
Some of the traders accused Owerri Youths of setting the market on fire.
Culled from: The Sun