ABUJA, 4 February 2021 – One person was killed and hundreds of shops razed in a wild overnight fire in a market in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, local news reports confirmed Thursday.
The person killed was probably serving as a night watch in one of the shops in the Tippa Garage Market in the Gwarinpa district of Abuja.
Fire service officials who were among the first to the scene of the fire said Thursday that the fire started at around 1 a.m. and was burning for hours.
Shop owners who gathered at dawn Thursday morning at the scene of the fire told reporters that they had lost everything.
The cause of the fire has not been established although the speculation is that the flames were probably sparked a power surge when electric power was restored after an outage.
Many shops in the market had fuel-powered generators used by shopkeepers to light the market when lights failed, to play music, run small refrigerators or charge phones.
The fuel from the generators added to the fire.
The only thing left of most shops Thursday morning was ash.
The chairperson for the market, Usman Abdullahi, estimated Thursday that the losses must run into millions of dollars.
During a visit Thursday to the market, Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, a junior minister for Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja, promised government’s assistance to victims of the fire without detailing what the assistance would consist of.
The market sold assorted goods, including food, clothing, plastic products and building material.
Neighboring homes were threatened by the fire just before fire fighters brought it under control just before dawn on Thursday.