Diamond Bank ,Others Loses Billions Of Naira As Fire Guts Balogun Market

Balogun Market a popular market in the heart of Lagos Island has been gutted by fire.

According to eye witnesses,the fire destroyed goods and properties worth billions of Naira.

Traders watched in shock on Monday as goods estimated at billions of naira were lost after the fire ravaged five buildings in the market.

The traders said the fire began around 4am.

A banking hall belonging to Diamond Bank was also affected by the flames.

A woman, identified as Aunty Funmi was in tears, while some traders milled around her in sympathy.

One of those consoling her, Abimbola Amos, said Funmi was devastated because she lost goods worth about N6m to the inferno.

She said, “I am also a trader in the market. I sell Italian shoes and bags and lost goods worth about N1.5m. I didn’t get to know until after 7am.

“This has never happened to us in Balogun Market. Everything we have is gone. Some of us are widows.”

Yetunde Fakodunjo, mother of four and trader in the market, said her sister informed her of the fire after she finished observing her morning prayer.

She said, “I couldn’t believe it and had to call another friend who confirmed it, saying our plaza was on fire.

“Everything was burnt. I could not pick a pin. I cannot estimate what I lost to this fire. It is in millions.”

A trader, Mrs. Bukola Akinrogunde, explained to our correspondent that the affected buildings were shops and warehouses.

Akinrogun criticised the Lagos State Fire Service, saying it concentrated its operation on Diamond Bank and left other buildings to burn.

“They could have put off the fire on time, but they focused on the bank. I commend them for their effort, but it was not enough. The fire service allowed our shops and warehouses to burn.”

Another trader, Cy Ezefuna, who said he lost goods valued at N200m, blamed the Lagos Island Local Government Area for blocking the exit roads with shops which delayed the response of the fire service.

He said, “I blame the local government because it blocked everywhere with makeshift structures. When the fire servicemen were on their way here, they did could not access here on time.

“The government is greedy and collects N200, 000 from these shops yearly. We had to demolish some of them before the fire service could get in.”

He said the fire started after a transformer around the building sparked and caught fire.

A former Chairman of the Community Development Area, Jamiu Ekemode, while also blaming the government, said he had predicted the disaster, but nobody heeded his warnings.

“This fire started from a small place, but because help couldn’t come on time, it escalated. The LGA is to blame because it gave approval for this nonsense,” he said.

Officials of the Lagos State Fire Service, National Emergency Management Agency, Nigeria Civil Defence Corps, Red Cross Society, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Lagos State Building Control Agency, the Nigeria Police Force, fire trucks from the United Bank for Africa Plc and Julius Berger Nigeria Plc were seen at the scene

The Director of the Lagos State Fire Service, Mr. Rasak Fadipe, said nine fire trucks belonging to the agency had gone for refill three times each as of 2pm.

He said, “We got the alert around 6am.

“On arrival, the men discovered that they could not cope with the fire and we had to dispatch another seven fire trucks from other fire stations. When the firefighters arrived, three buildings were on fire, and the fourth had just caught fire.”

On the allegation that the fire service concentrated effort on Diamond Bank, he said the agency fought hard so that the fire would not extend to the building, adding that it was not partial in its operation.

The South West Coordinator, NEMA, Dr. Abdullahi Bamidele, said there had not been any injury or loss of lives.

“LASEMA bulldozers are at work to remove the rubbles so we can move in and reassess the situation,” he added.

The General Manager of LASEMA, Mr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, told our correspondent that the agency was still studying the building to know if it would be demolished or not.

The General Manager of LASBCA, Mrs. Abimbola Animashaun, said the fire had weakened the structures, which had made a demolition inevitable.

The Iyaloja General, Mrs. Folashade Tinubu-Ojo, promised to speak with the government to get help for the traders who lost their wares in the incident.

She said, “I sympathise with everyone affected by the fire and I advise you to calm down while we speak with the government to get assistance.”

The Branch Manager of Diamond Bank in the area, Feyisayo Adeniyi, said the bank could not state the extent of damage immediately


Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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