Fire Outbreak: Evil January For Nnewi Timber Dealers


From Nweke Nweke, Awka

As Christians in Nigeria and world over bounces back to business while some are very busy making their new year resolutions after the festivities’s celebrations, some traders dealing on timber products in  popular Nkwo Nnewi market,  Nnewi North Local Government Area of Anambra State, on the early hours of Thursday, had their goods, machines and other working tools worth over Three Billion Naira, (N3, 000, 000.00), razed to dust when fire gutted the section of the market.

The traders who were in sorrow and agony, described the period as evil January for them while making their feelings known to newsmen. They however said the cause of the fire outbreak was not immediately ascertained by them but a Director from the office of Anambra State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA)who was handy when visited the market, said he suspected the inferno to had came through the dust generated and dumped in a gully erosion very close to the market by the carpentry section in the market.

According to an eyewitness account, the inferno, which started around 12 midnight on the early hours of Thursday morning, consumed over 550 Machines, over 150 shops and other property belonging to the traders, including wears.

It would be recalled that the same section, dealing on woods and wood works in the popular Nkwo Nnewi market was in the same circumstance, razed to dust in 2002 and fourteen years after, the devil’s hands retouched the traders again.

 Confirming that they jointly lost property  worth over Three Billion Naira to the fire outbreak, the Chairman, Nnewi Timbers Dealers Association, Chief Chukwunonso Nnaetu, flanked by his secretary, Chief Jude Ugwu appeals to the Federal, State governments, humatarian organisations, spirited individuals to come to their aid, stating that five of their memebrs are already hospitalised out of the shock as what they gathered with shovels for many years was razed to dust in a twinkling of an eye.

Condoling the affected traders, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Operations,  DCP Johnson Okokomu who stood in for the  Anambra State Commissioner of Police, CP Sam Okalua told the traders not to mourn like people without faith even as he appealed to the government to assist the affected traders to come back to business.

On the role played by his men, the State Commissioner of Police who dove his cap for the State Fire Service for their gallantry in fighting the fire outbreak, siad the Nnewi Area Commander and the DPO in charge of Central Police Station(CPS), Nnewi were not only on ground but mobilised policemen who condone the market and protected the entire market against the hoodlums who would use the opportunity to cause more havoc.

He used the period and advised members of the public to always guide against anything capable of causing fire outbreak both in their home and in their business places, especially now that we are in the winter period.

Some of the traders who spoke to newsmen under tears, recounted the machines consumed by the inferno to include: Sawing, Spraying, Planing Machines amongst others.

Efforts made to reach the State Fire Service Commander for comment as at the time of hitting the press was not frightful as calls made across to his phone, kept repeating; ‘not available now, call back later’.



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