- At least three lives have been reported lost and properties worth millions of naira destroyed in a fire at Akesan Market in Oyo state on Sunday, January 5
- Also destroyed was the Oyo Fire Service station which was burned down by angry youths in protest
- The youths were angered by the inability of the Oyo firemen to put out the blaze at the market despite being informed of the disaster on time
There was pandemonium in Oyo state on Sunday, January 5 after a series of incidents reportedly left three people dead, a popular market razed and the Oyo fire service station burned down.
According to The Nation, trouble started when part of the popular Akesan Market caught fire on Sunday morning and the fire service was called to quench the blaze.
The residents were disappointed when they were told that the equipment available with the firemen was not enough to stop the raging inferno.
The fire went on to do substantial damage to the market, much to the annoyance of the residents who felt the situation would have been arrested if the fire service had done its job.
Angry youths proceeded to the fire service station and burned it down in protest.
In the ensuing chaos, some security forces, who the national daily says it could not properly identify, shot three of the protesting youths dead.
A statement from a youth group, Oyo Global Forum, which is based in Oyo Town explained the matter thus: “Tragedies struck in Oyo Town in the early hours of Sunday, January 5, 2020, as fire razed Akesan Market, the town’s main commercial centre, almost entirely and the Police killed at least three persons protesting failure of the fire service. Only a few shops and a filling station were not affected.
“Unfortunately, the Fire Service based in Oyo and just less than 20 metres to the Market could not mobilise to stop the raging fire. The Service said its equipment was not functioning. Firefighters then had to be mobilised from Ogbomoso Town, 50 kilometres away, after massive damage."
The group expressed disappointment at the state government's lack of preparedness to battle a serious fire in Oyo Town, vowing to demand damages.
It said: "We condemn this failure of government service. But more concerning is the disproportionate use of force in response to angry residents who were protesting at the gate of the fire service near Akesan in Oyo."
It added: “In due course, we will be demanding that Oyo State Government should compensate the traders and rebuild the market, while also enforcing stricter safety standards across the state. We will also not allow the police to get away with the killings in Oyo.”
The Oyo market fire occurred just hours after Legit.ng reported that a gas explosion claimed the lives of many people at Sabon Tasha in Kaduna metropolis on Saturday, December 4.
The incident occurred at a shop located opposite Total filling station at Sabon Tasha.
The sound of the explosion caused fear among many residents who initially thought it was a bomb attack by Boko Haram.
An eyewitness, Philip Kambai, who escaped the blast, said he was at a barbing saloon close to the gas shop for a hair cut alongside three other people when the incident happened.
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