Jos - A shocking 255 shops were damaged and scores of people injured as fire gutted the grains section of Laranto Market in Jos, witnesses said.
Among items damaged were grain warehouses and shops filled with grain.
The cause of the fire was not known but Kabiru Lawal, the Chairman of Grain Traders Association, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the inferno resulted from a power surge.
"The fire started immediately after power was restored. The voltage was extremely high and this resulted in flames from some machines in some shops,'' he said.
Lawal said that most of those injured were visitors who volunteered to put out the fire.
"I was particularly happy that the volunteers were people who had no particular stake in the market; their total commitment was just amazing," he said.
The chairman appealed to the Plateau Government to assist the traders, some of whom he said lost everything.
"Many have lost just everything they have laboured for all their lives," he said.
Musa Ishaka, a victim who described the incident as a "massive disaster", called on the government to come to their assistance as they had no one else to turn to.
Juni Dabin, a representative of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), who visited the scene, expressed shock over the massive destruction and prayed against a recurrence.
She said that SEMA had assessed the damage and would send a report to the Plateau Government.
"We shall do everything within our powers to cushion the effect of the disaster," she said.