Traders at Asa Nnentu Motor Spare Parts market in Ugwunagbo LGA popularly known as (Ala Ojii) and Aba Motor Park in Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State are counting their losses following the fire incidents that destroyed their shops recently.
Goods estimated at over N400million are believed to have perished at Asa Nnentu Motor Spare Parts market alone.
Speaking on the incident, Moses Onyebuchi, an electrician and a driver who gave his name as James at the Aba Park, Umuahia, the state capital attributed the cause of the fire to indiscriminate burning of refuse at the back of one of the shops in the market.
Comrade Ajaegbu Morrison, the Secretary of Patrons of Asa Nnentu Motor Spare Parts Market and one of the victims of the fire incident described that incident as devastating.
He appealed for help for the victims from government .
Ajaegbu said “I was about to pray before going to bed when my phone rang. I checked my phone to see who was calling and it was one of my neighbors.
”He told me that he learnt that our market was on fire and that it was mainly on F-Line where my shop was located. After some minutes, I got another call from another neighbor telling me that my shop was among those that were razed by the inferno.
”It was then I decided to come and see things for myself .
”About 12 shops were affected by the inferno. We don’t use electricity here and so, we can’t say that it was caused by power surge. We stored no petrol in our shops. So, there was no way the fire could have been caused by fuel or electricity surge.
”However, when we came back in the morning, we noticed that there was fire in the borrow pit at the back of our shops where the contractors rehabilitating the Aba-Enugu-Port Harcourt road come to excavate red mud from. How it got to my shops and my neighbours, I can’t really tell.
”We are appealing to the federal, state and Ugwunagbo local government authorities to come to our aide.
”Since the fire incident occurred, we have been doing practically nothing. We have been sitting here, praying to God to send helpers our way.
”We have reached out to the local government chairman and have been making efforts to reach the state government. They are yet to come and we are not giving up yet. We will continue to make efforts to see that even the lawmakers representing us; Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe and Hon. Uzoma Abonta and well-meaning Abians come to our aide.
”We lost over N400m. One of the car engines that got burnt here is over N1million. If you calculate the buildings and the motor spare parts in the shops, it will even be more than that. That is why we are calling on the state governor to come to our aid.
”We are not happy that such a thing happened to us. It is not our plans to disturb him, but in this case, we are only appealing to the governor and other well-meaning Abians and Nigerians to come to our aide. It is too much for us to bear.
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”The federal government through NEMA (National Emergency Management Agency) should please come to our rescue. We have our house rents and children’s school fees to pay this January.
Another victim, Chukwudi Alexander Anucha, a native of Isiala Ngwa South LGA of the State while fighting hard to hold back tears, corroborated Morrison’s account of the inferno.
He said: ”before the fire incident, I had gone to the bank to withdraw all the monies that I had to buy and stock goods in my shop.
“There was an engine that I bought for over a million naira. Some people had already indicated interest in buying the engine. They were supposed to come and pay for the engine in the morning of the unfortunate inferno.
“There were other engines that people planned to come and pay for this month.
“We are now surviving through the assistance of some friends and relatives. We are asking for the assistance of government. There is absolutely nothing that was saved from our shops. We are pained by the loss and hope that the appropriate authorities including our dear Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu will come to our aid.
“We can barely afford food for our family, but with their assistance, we are confident that we are going to come out of this stronger.”