The Singer Market fire, which destroyed goods worth over N3billion was one of the infernos that have ravaged such facilities in Kano.
Traders have been grappling with their losses since the February 18 fire, which razed the multi-billion-naira Singer Market in Murtala Muhammed Way in Kano. It is estimated that the merchants lost over N3 billion in goods and cash to the fire.
It was not a one-off disaster, though. In December, the popular Abubakar Rimi Market, another huge commercial facility in the ancient city, was razed to the ground. In that fire, traders lost goods estimated at N300m.
After that tragedy, another inferno wasted N3 million goods in Kurmi Market, known as the oldest in Kano, said to have been founded by Emir Muhammad Rumfa in the 15th Century.
Manufacturers of foodstuff and household items, such as the Dangote Group, Gongoni, and security agencies and the fire service men tried in vain to put out the fire.
Sources blamed a tea-seller and a pop-corn dealer close to the market for the Singer Market fire. Alhaji Imam Yuguda and Alhaji Bature Garba Mairawoni who identified themselves as leaders of the market said goods and cash worth over N3 billion were lost in the fire.
According to Yuguda said, “This morning, we were informed that our shops in Singer Market were burning; and also the shops of Alhaji Hamza Sani Maiturani. We were informed at about 6 a.m. and immediately we arrived, the fire was very devastating and it was even beyond the Fire Service men as they struggled to control it. I can confirm to you, as you can see for yourself that Alhaji Hamza’s building is completely razed,” while confirming that about 2000 shops and 1500 make-shift shops have been destroyed at Singer Market by the fire.
The fire which spread to the Abdulrasheed Hamza Mai Turare building, destroyed many shops and properties as fire fighters battled for hours to put it out. The disaster plunged many traders into agony. Some of the affected traders, who spoke to this reporter, recounted thier losses with an appeal to government and wealthy individuals to come to their aid.
Alhaji Tasiu Shui’b, a cigarette dealer, said, “I lost goods worth over N50m to the fire. I have nothing left, I don’t have anything in terms of goods. As I am talking to you I am in serious agony, I have a lot of dependants. I don’t know how I will cope with this pathetic situation. I don’t know where to start from, as the impact will negetively affect my family. In fact, I don’t know where to run to for help because the fire consumed three of my shops stocked with cartons of cigarette. I therefore appeal to government to kindly help us in Allah’s name.”
A grocery dealer Sulieman Zakariah said he lost goods worth N60m to the fire disaster, adding, “I lost everything to the fire, I have accepted the incident in good faith. God gives and takes from whoever He wishes so as a true Muslim I have accepted it as destiny and God knows the best on how to compensate me. Since I have lost everything I am planning to start afresh as all businesses have their own hazards. The fire incident was destined to happen, so God has destined it and therefore it must come to pass.”
Also, Alhaji Adamu Yakubu who sells polythene bags and slippers said he lost goods worth N40million to the fire. He said he was planning to close down some of the shops to enable him transfer some of the goods located outside the market before the fire incident.
Yakubu said, “I was just luky that I have other shops outside the market. Now that my shops inside the market have been destroyed by the fire I will now transfer the other goods to the Singer Market to start my business again. He called on the government to upgrade the market to make it modern by expanding it.
The director of Kano State fire service department Alhaji Balarabe Habu Karbara confirmed that the fire started from a tea sellers shop located in the market.
He said ,“ Our men could not gain access into the market for lack of access road which hampered our work of battling the fire as it took us hours to locate where we could gain entrance into the market. He confirmed that three of their personnel sustained injuries and were rushed to the hospital, treated and discharged.
Assistant Comptroller of Immigration, IB Tanko, Commander, in-charge of Immigration Patrol, said, “This is unfortunate because Singer Market is a prominent market in Kano. In fact, this is not favourable to Kano and the country. We shall soon meet with leaders of the market to ascertain the real cause of the incident because we are yet to commence investigations,” he added.
They may also need to determine the cause of other fires which have wasted goods and plunged Kano traders into misery.
By KOLADE ADEYEMI, The Nation Newspaper