Lagos - 17 out of 500 shops at the Abibatu Mogaji Model Market, Iponri shopping complex in Surulere area of Lagos, were ravaged by fire on Tuesday night.
According to eyewitnesses, the fire, which destroyed goods worth millions of Naira, started around midnight.
Surulere Local Government Chairman, Tajudeen Ajide, who visited the market on Wednesday, attributed the cause of the fire to surge in electricity.
"We can sit down and look for a better way to handle electricity problem; of course it is electricity but we cannot say how it started."
Ajide said that there was need to rewire the market to avoid future fires.
The Chairman also commended the State Fire Service for preventing the fire from further spread and for its prompt response to the emergency at the market.
Shop owners were seen wailing and trying to recover some of their goods.
On compensation, Ajide said the council had no plan to compensate anyone but would ensure prevention of a reoccurrence.
"We have not done our investigation and I don’t think, within the purview of any local government, we have the capacity of compensating anybody; it is not our duty to do that.
"Our duty is to make sure that the fire is stopped and we try to help by consoling them for their loss.
"I think the state has a role to play and we work together to see that they have a better environment to sell their goods again," he said
The Director of Lagos State Fire Service, Rasak Fadipe, said the distress call came at 11.48 p.m. on Tuesday.
Fadipe said that officers from the Iganmu, Ilupeju, and Onikan fire service stations worked tirelessly to put out the fire.
The State fire boss, who also attributed the fire to electrical fault, said that about 17 shops were destroyed.
"The information we heard was that there was initially no light no current then.
"But when the light was restored, there was a surge of electricity that went into one of the shops but you see we don’t continue to say upsurge.
"If we are very careful; if our houses or where we stay and our markets are well wired; if cables are well wired and if there’s an upsurge, there will be something there that will arrest it.
"If you look at the wiring system here, many of the poles that are here are fully loaded with wire indiscriminately.
"So when this happens, then if there’s an upsurge, it will quickly have something to surge and go into the market or the houses.
"So the cause of the fire was upsurge of electricity."
Fadipe also urged shop owners to cooperate and source power for a centralised plant for security purposes.
He charged the traders to be alert and seek ways of preventing such disasters.
Security agents, stationed at the various entrances into the shopping complex, were on hand to control traffic around the market until the fire was put out.
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