The fire that gutted the main market of Oyo Town in Oyo State, Akesan Market, consumed more than the market. It took the fire station with it.
The people were disappointed when fire ravaged their stalls and wares, while the fire station that was just a walking distance away did nothing to save them. When the people in the town went to ask for the support of the firefighters who turned them back on the excuse of lack of water, they retaliated!
Many lost millions, and their livelihoods as the value of what the fire destroyed ran into several millions.
The market is critical to the economy of the people of Oyo, as it is the main market in the large town and a source for income for many – – including poor farmers who took their produce to be sold by women who rely on trading to fend for and train their families.
Akesan market is not the only victim of fire accidents in Oyo State. A recent fire outbreak destroyed properties in Ibadan just a couple of weeks ago. Fire outbreaks are often a common occurrence during the dry harmattan season – a season that is witnessed around November to January.
But some sources said the harmattan wasn’t to blame for Oja Akesan’s fire outbreak, but rather an electrical spark.
Dejected and angry, the mob set the fire station and their trucks on fire in protest. This is when the police were invited.
The police, in response, fired gunshots at protesters. Two were immediately killed, and six were rushed to the hospital to treat injuries from gunshots. Another one died at the hospital. It was reported that a kid was among the people that were killed by the police.
Firefighters from Ibadan were reported to have arrived at the site of the incident, to put out the fire at the fire station.
Governor Seyi Makinde responds…
Hours after the market went in flames, news reached the State Governor who lives in Ibadan, the state capital, hours away from Oyo Town.
In his remark, the governor expressed shock at the incident and promised to investigate the cause of the fire accident. He pleaded for calm from the people.