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Market Inferno: Fire destroys sesame, melon seeds worth over N150m in Nasarawa

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A warehouse stocked with sesame and melon seeds worth over one hundred and fifty million, have been gutted by fire in market in Nasarawa local government area of Nasarawa State.

The incident, BusinessDay learnt occurred in the early hours of August 19th, 2023, at about 3:am.

Effort to get the state fire service personnel on duty to rescue the situation, prove abortive, as according to the personnel, their fire fighting vehicle was faulty.

Lamenting on behalf of other affected persons, the chairman, Noma Tushin Arziki Cooperative Society, Ibrahim Salihu Ache, blamed the fire service for their losses in the market.

According to Ache, “I was contacted on phone that fire is burning in our cooperative warehouse, I had to rushed to the warehouse at that time, it was only one shop that was on fire, and that is where the fire started.

“I quickly went to the fire service office and met with the personnels. I was the one that even woke them from sleep to tell them that there is fire outbreak in the market and our warehouse is affected.

“And they said, O’ Alhaji , sorry, we can not assist you because the vehicle for fire fighting is not working for almost two weeks now. I was shocked and surprised and had to returned to the market disappointed.

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“But with the help of people around, we had to struggle but at that time the fire had spread into some parts of the warehouse . Sincerely speaking we have to thank the Emir of Nasarawa and the Eze Igbo, who are our neighbours, the emir opened the gate of his resident to allow people fetch water to calm the fire.

“So, we have lost a lot of things. What we lost at the moment are sesame (Ridi) and melon (egusi) seeds. Everybody knows that this is the season of melon, where farmers bring their farm produce to the market to sale.

“These are people that, untill they sale their melon before they can afford food to eat in their houses. So going by our estimate statistically, we have lost over One Hundred and Fifty Three Million Naira(N153,000.000.00), he recounted.

Ibrahim, further explained that, there are over 170 bags of melon stored in the warehouse, and since incidence, they had written a letter of complain to the Senator representing the zone, house of representative member and also to the state house of assembly member for intervention.

He blamed, according to preliminary investigation, the cause of the fire disaster on PHCN and the fire service for their inabilities to respond, which led to the fire outbreak and looses in the market.

Abdulmumuni Ari, the member representing Nasarawa/Toto federal constituency in the National Assembly, also faulted the fire fighting personnel for the huge losses from the outbreak.

Ari, who was at the scene of the fire incident to sympathise with the traders, swiftly made a cash donation of Five Hundred Thousand Naira to help them evacuate the destroyed ware house, where sesame seeds and melon were kept in hundreds bags.

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He assured the traders that, he will do everything humanly possible to ensure NEMA, as well as the Nasarawa State Government, under governor Abdullahi Sule, intervenes in restoring the burnt market .

The lawmaker, who spoke through his Media aid said, “as you can see the market is located in Nasarawa town, is not only patronize by our people of Nasarawa Local Government alone, but people from all works of life come in here to buy and sale.

“This portion of the market which has been razed down by fire is one of the warehouses in the market that sesame seed, known in Hausa as Ridi and Melon” Egusi is stucked in large numbers of bags.

“I couldn’t have stayed longer than now to take assessment of the devastating and disastrous fire incident that occured on Saturday morning , leaving owners of the farm produces as well as traders counting their loses.

“From preliminary findings, I understood the fire started as a result of the unstable supply of electricity, which would had been brought down if the fire fighters of the Nasarawa State fire service had promptly responded, when the incident was reported but I was meant to understand that they did not show up, talk more of tackling the raging fire that consumed the entire warehouse.

“I am their representative and I will, within my capacity do everything to make sure that NEMA and the Nasarawa State Government come in and help restore the hope of this traders who are already counting their loses in Hundred Millions of Naira , at a very critical economy situation as the one we are facing,” Ari submitted.